The continued rise of new COVID cases throughout the state, especially those from the Omicron and Delta variants, is pushing California health officials to keep the public informed and protected during the Christmas holiday season.
According to data collected in November and early December, California Department of Public Health officials have confirmed 4,909,188 COVID-19 cases — the current average daily rate of cases stood at 5,307 — and 74,996 deaths since the pandemic began.
The number of new cases remains high among those who are not vaccinated. According to Public Health, unvaccinated people were 7.1 times more likely get COVID-19 (from data collected between Nov. 28 and Dec. 4); 12.8 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 (from data collected Nov. 21 to Nov. 27); and 15.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 (from data collected Nov. 14 to Nov. 20) than people who were vaccinated.
Latinos (52.3%) have had the largest number of COVID cases (52.3%) and deaths (45.5%), in the state, followed by whites, Asians and African Americans.
These totals are expected to increase as more people travel into and out of California through Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Health officials reinstated the wearing of face masks in all indoor settings — whether vaccinated or not — on Dec. 15, and the mandate will stay in place at least through Jan.15.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:
Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
For those who plan to attend a “mega-event” this holiday season (crowds greater than 1,000 indoors and greater than 10,000 outdoors), if you cannot show proof of vaccination you must then show proof of a negative test result from an antigen test within one day of the event, or proof of a negative result from a PCR test within two days of the event before being allowed to enter the venue.
Current antigen and PCR testing methods can detect the Omicron variant and other variants of COVID-19.
Besides vaccinating, wearing masks, social distancing among people who don’t live with you, good ventilation and the constant washing/sanitizing of your hands, the health department also wants to remind the public to:
— Get Tested. You should immediately get tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling any symptoms — regardless of your vaccination status. COVID-19 symptoms can feel like a common cold (including just “the sniffles”), seasonal allergies, or flu. COVID-19 testing in California is free to anyone who needs it.
— If You Are Returning From a Country of Concern, the CDC recommends that travelers from Southern Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi to test within 3-5 days after arrival, quarantine for 7 days, and isolate and test if COVID-19 symptoms develop.
Most important: if you are ill, stay home.
If you are seeking a free test appointment, walk-in test clinic, or want to buy a self-test kit from your local drugstore, you can find a testing site online by call ing (833) 422-4255 or 211.
Where much of the province’s population is preparing for Christmas this holiday season, Yasin Kiraga Misago is making plans to celebrate Kwanzaa with his community.
A holiday that spans seven days, Kwanzaa is the celebration of Pan-African and African-American cultures, history and community. It was created in 1966. The word Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase, ‘matunda ya kwanza’ which translates to ‘first fruits’ of the harvest season.
The festivities run from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
“When you celebrate Kwanzaa, mainly the purpose of it is that we should know each other, we should have the spirit of solidarity, of supporting our community. We should show love towards one another,” said Misago, founder of the African Descent Society of B.C.
He says that celebrating Kwanzaa is especially important in this province because there is not a large African community in B.C.
Misago – born in Burundi and grew up in Uganda and Malawi – came to Canada as a refugee in 2009. This was when he began celebrating Kwanzaa, before going on to create the society in 2012, which now has over 40 members.
“It’s a solution-based event, we discuss how we can deal with our community issues as an individual, as a group and on a communal level,” Misago said.
The number seven is significant in the celebration of Kwanzaa: Seven principles, seven days, seven candles (Mishumaa Saba) lit on the Kinara and seven symbols.
The symbols in Kwanzaa are: Muhindi, or corn, Mazao, meaning crops, Zawadi, or gifts, Mkeka, which is the placemat representing the foundation of Kwanzaa, Kikombe cha Umoja, or the unity cup, candles in green, red and black which rest on the last symbol, the Kinara.
The word ‘Kwanzaa’ itself has an extra ‘a’ added at the end to make it seven letters.
Seven days of Kwanzaa through Misago’s eyes
Misago and his community get together on Dec. 26 to mark the beginning of the celebrations – a day referred to as Umoja, which means unity.
“Our community is broken up into various pieces. Kwanzaa reminds us that we need to unite in order to make an effort and create change in the community,” he said.
Dec. 27 is about Kujichagulia, which means self-determination. For Misago, this day is about having conversations on how to fight against the inequalities that Black and African people experience.
“If we face discrimination – Kujichagulia – let’s stand for our rights and speak our minds,” he said.
The third day, or Dec. 28, focuses on Ujima, which is about collective work and responsibility.
Every Dec. 29 is about Ujamaa, or cooperative economics. This day is dedicated to supporting businesses run by African people and working to begin new ones.
Day Five is called Nia, or purpose, and reflects on honouring the ones who came before them through collaboration and building a strong community.
On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, the Kikombe cha Umoja is used in a libation ritual to honour the African ancestors. This day is also all about Kuumba, or creativity, and is about bringing together artists, performers and storytellers to showcase their talents in a festival.
Kwanzaa itself is not about religion, but for Misago, a Muslim-man, celebrating the holiday without Allah is not possible. This is why the last day of Kwanzaa, which means faith, is the most important to Misago: Imani.
“Kwanzaa is important to Muslims as well, we celebrate it together. To Muslims, words like ‘Nia’ are a part of them. Iman in Islam is the same as Imani in Kwanzaa,” he said.
“When you have faith, everything is possible. If you believe in the people we work with, we can build cooperation and work together. If you have Iman, you can trust each other, you can build resilience and be able to believe in other people,” Misago said.
The last day, Jan. 1, is also typically the day where Zawadi, or gifts, are given. The zawadi represent the labour and love of parents towards their children and are typically handmade presents.
Legacy of Kwanzaa in B.C. still needs work
It is important for Black and African children to grow up celebrating Kwanzaa, Misago said.
“It’s a cultural awareness for them, instilling values, wisdom, culture, heritage – giving them the opportunity as children to learn and celebrate and embrace all of it. I think it is an excellent thing.”
While virtual opening and in-person closing festivals are scheduled in Vancouver this year, African and Black communities are yet to have a cultural space in B.C.’s largest city – a goal Misago is hoping to reach through his efforts at the society.
“In Canada, the government has been slow to support Kwanzaa and we don’t know why but that is something that we’d like to see.”
To celebrate or learn more about Kwanzaa, anyone is encouraged to visit adsbc.org.
AUTUMN IN AMERICA The Georgia jury on the Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery’s death did not disappoint America when it delivered a guilty verdict for three white men. The jury proved that liberty and justice for all is possible in America in a red state as the nation agonizingly struggles to attain a more perfect union.
NEW YORK: The 2022 NYS Gubernatorial race is using lots of print ink. Polls are taken or made up every week. According to latest, Kathy Hochul enjoys a commanding lead with 40%, followed by Letitia James at 17%, de Blasio 7% and Jumaane Williams, at 6.7%. Congressman Tom Suozzi, who represents Queens, and Long Island, just entered the race, as a moderate. According to Ballotpedia, African American entrepreneur Joe Holland joins the 2022 NYS Attorney General race. The Democrats AG lineup includes Eric Gonzalez, Brooklyn DA; Melinda Katz, Queens DA, and Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout.
In NY last weekend, the Neo Fascist Proud Boys, dressed in black with faces covered by bandanas, marched without a permit, down the highway, to Rockville Center’s business district in Nassau County where they, distributed flyers and disrupted business. The trigger: the 11/02 GOP victories in Nassau and Suffolk Counties? Or their anger about the Georgia jury verdict regarding the in the Ahmaud Arbery case. NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams planned to visit Europe this week. He cancelled and decided to visit Ghana instead. Good idea! While in the homeland, Adams should take a side trip to Benin and get the ancestral blessings for the tough road ahead for him as NYC Mayor, the second hardest job in America.
Robin Hood Foundation CEO Richard Buery’s, NY Daily News opinion piece, HOW ERIC ADAMS CAN MAKE THE WORLD’S GREATEST CITY THE MOST POWER ENGINE OF OPPORTUNITY, should be required reading for urban policy makers nationwide. It is long on stats and solutions to address poverty, education, housing, and eviction prevention. Buery was NYC Deputy Mayor with oversight of the Pre-K program under Hizzoner de Blasio. TEXAS: It is no secret that Governor Greg Abbott must exit the state mansion in 2022. There is a crowded field of gubernatorial contenders on both sides of the aisle, including Texas native son, actor Matthew McConaughey, who recently pulled out of the race. Democrat Beto O’Rourke should be the Abbott successor. Republicans have won questionable races since 2000. Remember the 2018 Governor races in Georgia and Florida, when African American Democrats Tracey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, respectively, lost by small margins. COVID’s myriad variants surface willy-nilly, all the more reason for the vaccination. The latest variant, Omicron, was reported by a South African scientist. Consequently, South Africans and Africans from Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana are banned from traveling to the US and the United Kingdom, Paraguay, and Australia. The travel ban in premature. Omicron has been spotted in Hong Kong.
BUSINESS MATTERS A 1,500-foot skyscraper, which would be the highest in NYC and the highest in the Western Hemisphere, is in the planning stage. Its newsworthiness lies with the project’s principals, and African American Dream Team, real estate developer Don Peebles, developer; McKissick and McKissick, construction company; Exact Capital, a real estate development firm, investor; and David Adjaye, architect. The Affirmation Tower will house two hotels, the NAACP headquarters and commercial office rental space. Tower will be located in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards vicinity.
ARTS AND CULTURE THEATER: There is more Black theater for discerning theater aficionados. Previews begin December 6 for MJ THE MUSICAL, yes, as in Michael Jackson, with a book by Lynn Nottage, including more than 25 of the Man in the Mirror’s chart-topping hits. Michael Frost makes his Broadway debut in MJ title character. Visit MJthemusical.com Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre has two plays, GONG LUM’S LEGACY,” by Charles White and A MILES SOLO by Glenn Young, on its 2022 Spring schedule. Visit newfederaltheatre.com The play, THE SLAVE WHO LOVED CAVIAR by writer/poet professor Ishmael Reed satirizes the relationship between American pop culture icons cum fine artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, runs in a limited engagement from 12/23 to January 9, at the Theater for The New City, 155 First Avenue, Manhattan. Rome Neal, Director of Nuyorican Poets Café, serves as production coordinator. Call 212.254.1109
BOOKS NOTES: Actor Will Smith’s memoir, WILL, raced to the top of the nation’s best seller book lists. He is also getting media attention for his lead role in the biopix, KING RICHARD, about Richard Williams, the highly-driven dad/coach of world-renown tennis icons Serena and Venus Williams. The Washington Post’s 10 Best Books of 2021 list includes works by three African American women: “The Love Songs of W.E. DuBois” (fiction) by University of Oklahoma Professor Honorée Fannonne Jeffers; “Somebody’s Daughter, A Memoir,” by Ashley Ford and “All She Carried, The Journal of Ashley Sack, A Black Family Keepsake,” a nonfiction story about enslavement and separation by Harvard Professor Tiya Miles. Check out the new kid on the literary block, Digital Canopi, a platform for “Caribbean ebooks, e-textbooks and literary works, past, present and future’ which will launch as live streamed event on Friday, December 3 from 11 am @digitalcanopi.com. MUSIC: Billy Strayhorn is one of four composer/arranger deities who was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame, Class of 2021. A Duke Ellington collaborator for almost three decades, Strayhorn’s TAKE THE A TRAIN is rated as one of the top 100 American songs of the 20th Century.
NEWMAKERS RIP: Fashion designer Virgil Abloh, 41, died of a rare form of cancer. Chicago born Abloh was the son of Ghanian immigrants. He earned degrees in engineering and architecture but learned to sew from his mother. In the fashion world, he was a Kanye West collaborator, before launching his Off-White line. In 2019, Louis Vuitton hired him as creative director of men’s wear, which was a first for a Black person with an upscale couturier. He set up a $1 million scholarship for young Black fashion industry leaders and was obsessed with influencing younger generations.
RIP: Malikah Shabazz, 56, the youngest of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz’s six daughters was found dead by her daughter on November 22, in her Brooklyn, NY apartment. She died a few days after Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance exonerated two men for the wrongful conviction of killing her father. The Shabazz women want the Malcolm X death investigation to be re-opened. A Harlem-based media management consultant, Victoria is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon, 11/29, 3 pm — P&P Live! Sarah Chayes: ON CORRUPTION IN AMERICA with Timothy Noah — Join P&P Live! to celebrate the paperback release of Sarah Chayes’s new book, On Corruption in America, with Timothy Noah — This event is in partnership with The New Republic — Sarah Chayes writes in On Corruption, that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, she argues, is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public but to maximize returns for network members — Sarah Chayes has served as special assistant on corruption to Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as having advised David McKiernan and Stanley McChrystal. She has been a reporter for National Public Radio from Paris, covering Europe and the Balkans. Chayes is the author ofThe Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban and Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, winner of the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize — Chayes will be in conversation with Timothy Noah, who began his journalism career at The New Republic and since May 2020 has written a weekly column for the magazine’s website. He has worked at numerous outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Politico. Noah’s 2011 Slate series on income inequality won the Sidney Hillman Prize and became the 2012 book The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pp-live-sarah-chayes-on-corruption-in-america-with-timothy-noah-tickets-188586526377?aff=erellivmlt
Mon, 11/29, 6 pm — RESCHEDULED! Paul Auster discusses “Burning Boy” with Eric Lorberer — Booker Prize-shortlisted and New York Times bestselling author Paul Auster makes a most welcome return to our Reading Series, this time virtually, to discuss Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane (Henry Holt), his new biography of American literary icon and war reporter. He appears in conversation with Eric Lorberer. “Paul Auster’s all-in obsessive engagement with the 19th century Bad Boy of American literature, Stephen Crane, is brilliant and beautiful. Auster’s mastery of the historical context, his writerly, troubled, imaginative insights into Crane’s character and the analysis of the works, all superb. And the prose is beautiful — lucid and clear, and yet lyrical and personal. I was deeply moved by his portrayal of Crane’s relationships with Conrad and James and other writers of the time and Crane’s common law wife, Cora, and his judgmental, bourgeois older brother William. And his delicacy regarding Crane’s other relations with women. All of it. What a story! This is more than a novel, more than a biography, more than a book of critical analysis. This is a significant work of literature. And the most profound homage of one writer to another that I’ve ever read.” —Russell Banks, author of Cloudsplitter and The Sweet Hereafter.” — Paul Auster is the bestselling author of 4 3 2 1, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and the New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature. Among his other honors are the Prix Médicis étranger for Leviathan, the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and the Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. In 2012, he was the first recipient of the NYC Literary Honors in the category of fiction. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres — Eric Lorberer is the Executive Director of Rain Taxi, a nonprofit organization that publishes the nationally acclaimed quarterly Rain Taxi Review of Books and organizes the annual Twin Cities Book Festival: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rescheduled-paul-auster-discusses-burning-boy-with-eric-lorberer-tickets-208197172347?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Mon, 11/29, 7 pm — Fireside Film Night – Gaza Fights for Freedom — In honour of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, join us for an encore screening of this powerful documentary! — Free online screening: Gaza Fights for Freedom (2019, 1hr 24min) by Abby Martin REGISTER FOR GAZA FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM (The Zoom link to join the live event will be sent to you after registration.) “This collaboration shows you Gaza’s protest movement like you’ve never seen before. Filmed during the height of the Great March Of Return protests, it features exclusive footage of demonstrations where 200 unarmed civilians have been killed by Israeli snipers since March 30, 2018.” — 6:30pm – chat lobby opens — 7:00pm – Welcome; land acknowledgment followed by film screening and discussion — Fireside Film Night is a new free online series featuring important independent films, documentaries and lively discussions. On the fourth Friday of every month, we get together virtually for participatory, fun and thought-provoking evenings. Join us!: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fireside-film-night-gaza-fights-for-freedom-tickets-215933722577?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Tue, 11/30, 8 am — Is Neoliberalism Finished? — Join Haymarket Books and Spectre Journal for a discussion of Neoliberalism and the future of the global economy — After the failures of Keynesianism in the 1970s, the capitalist classes of the world turned to neoliberalism to discipline workers and restore profitability. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-10, capitalism has been mired in a long-term global slump and neoliberal policies have been unable to trigger a new boom. Is neoliberalism finished? Are states returning to Keynesianism? Will that work? Why is the world economy locked in a slump? — Join this webinar to hear answers to these and other questions from Prabhat Patnaik, Michael Roberts, and David McNally — Speakers: David McNally teaches history at the University of Houston. He is an editor of Spectre journal, and the author of seven books, including Blood and Money: War, Slavery, Finance and Empire (Haymarket Books 2020) — Michael Roberts is a British-based Marxist economist and author who worked as a professional economist in financial institutions for 40 years. He is author of several books: The Great Recession – a Marxist View (2009); The Long Depression (Haymarket 2016); World in Crisis joint ed (Haymarket 2018) and Marx 200 (2018) — Prabhat Patnaik is a well-known radical economist. He has written extensively on macroeconomics, development economics, and political economy. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism and The Retreat to Unfreedom: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/is-neoliberalism-finished-tickets-214105163307?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Tue, 11/30, 4 pm — Virtual Talk: “On Corruption in America” with Sarah Chayes — A major work that looks homeward to America, exploring the insidious, dangerous networks of corruption of our past, present, and future — Author Sarah Chayes thinks the United States resembles some of the most corrupt countries in the world. She says that corruption is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public but to maximize returns for network members — Corruption isn’t new. It’s thrived within our borders for a very long time: from the titans of America’s Gilded Age (Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan) to the collapse of the stock market in 1929. There’s proof everywhere: The Great Depression; FDR’s New Deal; Joe Kennedy’s years of banking, bootlegging, machine politics, and pursuit of infinite wealth; and the deregulation of the Reagan Revolution. More recently, she points to Clinton’s policies of political favors and personal enrichment and Trump’s hydra-headed network of corruption which aimed to systematically undo the Constitution and our laws — In this unflinching exploration of corruption in America, Chayes reveals how corrupt systems are organized, how they enable bad actors to bend the rules so their crimes are covered legally, how they overtly determine the shape of our government, and how they affect all levels of society, especially when the corruption is overlooked and downplayed by the rich and well-educated. She also reveals what is at stake if we don’t stop it: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-talk-on-corruption-in-america-with-sarah-chayes-registration-169353217031?aff=erellivmlt
Tue, 11/30, 7 pm — Seth Klein – A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency — The Mir Centre for Peace presents… Seth Klein – A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency — Is what we are seeing and hearing from COP26 and in the federal government’s latest climate plans aligned with the emergency we face? Author and longtime climate activist Seth Klein has something to say about that — Drawing on lessons from our wartime experience, Klein offers an original and uniquely hopeful vision of a way through the climate crisis. Reminding us that we have come together before in common cause across class, race and gender, he shows us that it is possible to entirely retool our economy in the space of a few short years, and align our politics and economy with what the science says we must do to address the climate crisis. We can do this! Join us to learn how — Seth Klein is the Team Lead and Director of Strategy of the Climate Emergency Unit (a 5-year project of the David Suzuki Institute that Seth launched in early 2021). Prior to that, he served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is the author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (published in 2020) and writes a regular column for the National Observer: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/seth-klein-a-good-war-mobilizing-canada-for-the-climate-emergency-tickets-203233776697?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1
Wed, 12/1, 12:30 am — Scholars United for a Sustainable Amsterdam (SUSA) Conference — Please join us on 1 December for the SUSA conference: Radically interdisciplinary and bottom-up solutions for making Amsterdam donut-proof — About the conference: During 2021, Scholars United for a Sustainable Amsterdam (SUSA) brought together Amsterdam’s academics to help Amsterdam realise its ambition to align with the model of donut economics. Amsterdam’s citizens shared stories about obstacles standing in the way of more sustainable ways of living or doing business. During this conference, four interdisciplinary teams of academics will share their ideas and work with the audience to overcome key barriers to a sustainable city. The conference is in English — Conference Schedule (Amsterdam time — subtract 9 hours for Pacific time): 9:30 – 9.45 — Coffee & Registration 9:45 – 09:50 — Welcome by the organisers 09:50 – 10:00 –Introduction by André Nollkaemper, dean of the Amsterdam Law School 10:00 – 11.00 –Keynote address by Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics 11.00 –11.15 –Coffee 11:15 – 11:45 –Roundtable 1: A Bottom-up City. Trust and collaboration in Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods 11.45 – 12.15 –Roundtable 2: Rethinking Garbage. A proposal for improving information and awareness about waste 12.15 – 13.15 –Lunch 13.15 – 13.45 –Roundtable 3: Measurability. An exploration of the potential of measurability for big system change 13.45 –14.15 –Roundtable 4: Flipping the Donut. Living in harmony with urban nature 14.15 –14:30 –Closing remarks by Philipp Pattberg, professor environmental policy analysis, VU 14.30 – 15.00 –Speed networking & discussion: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scholars-united-for-a-sustainable-amsterdam-susa-conference-tickets-202970940547?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1
Wed, 12/1, 12 Noon — JFSL (Journal of Free Speech Law) Public Panels — UCLA’s Institute for Technology, Law & Policy and the University of Arizona’s TechLaw Program are pleased to host a set of virtual public panels — December 1, 2021 – 11:00 AM (PST) (Hosted by UCLA ITLP) – Panel with Jack Balkin, Mark Lemley, Daphne Keller, and Eugene Volokh; December 6, 2021 – 12:00 PM (PST) (Hosted by UCLA ITLP and UA TechLaw) – Panel with Nadine Strossen, Eugene Volokh, Ash Bhagwat, and Jane Bambauer: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jfsl-public-panels-tickets-195546834847?aff=erelpanelorg
Wed, 12/1, 3 pm — Fight Club: The Great Debt Debate (Post-Game Q&A) — Economists Michael Hudson, Pavlina Tcherneva and Steve Keen enter the ring to answer your questions about money and debt! — Nika Dubrovsky, widow of the late David Graeber, has established “The Fight Club” to keep David’s unique way of challenging conventional wisdoms alive. Each “Fight” will pit leading advocates, thinkers and visionaries against each other — The inaugural fight was a debate between the renowned economists Thomas Piketty, author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, and Michael Hudson, author of “And Forgive Them Their Debts”. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWT0uvBLDbo — Join us for a follow up Q & A session with Hudson, Pavlina Tcherneva and Steve Keen. They will discuss: what is money and what is debt? What are the most serious problems of today’s finance-capital economies? And what are the best remedies? Come with your questions! — Event sponsored by the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, the Economic Democracy Initiative, and the Museum of Care: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fight-club-the-great-debt-debate-post-game-qa-tickets-211392088427?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Wed, 12/1, 4 pm — Virtual Screening: The War on Cuba — Join the virtual screening of The War on Cuba, followed by virtual conversation with the CMLK Center and journalist Liz Oliva in Havana — The documentary series shows the impact of U.S. sanctions and U.S. interventionism that the grassroots of the US, and all listeners, need to know about and denounce. The Blockade whose express intent is to cause hardship and incite violence- and whose impacts hit hardest along race, class, and gender- has been illegally imposed, with rejection from most of the world, for six decades. Then, the Trump administration tightened it, adding 243 more sanctions. These compounded the challenge caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the sudden evaporation of tourism dollars in the Caribbean. The economic hardship has resulted in scarcity in all areas from food, transportation, electricity, and vital medicines. People spend hours in long lines and live with uncertainty and growing inequality despite expansive public programmes, paid time off for COVID, salary raises, and subsidized foods through the libreta neighbourhood system. Daily life has been very hard for most Cubans — The second season of The War on Cuba uncovers the truth behind the mysterious health incidents known as the “Havana Syndrome,” examines the driving forces behind Cuba’s unprecedented July 11 protests and reveals the political interests that pushed Biden to flip-flop on Cuba policy — This will be an opportunity for grassroots organizations, students and community members to learn more about the effects of U.S sanctions on Cuban people. We will also hear about solidarity and what we can do to promote human-centered US economic and political policies towards Cuba — Organized by the Witness For Peace Solidarity Collective: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-screening-the-war-on-cuba-tickets-214317849457?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Thu, 12/2, 11 am — The Great American Novel Series: Go Tell It on the Mountain (James Baldwin) — What makes Go Tell It on the Mountain a great American novel? — James Baldwin’s semi-autobiographical novel follows the story of Jim Grimes in 1930’s Harlem as he navigates fraught relationships with his family and the church. What makes Go Tell It on the Mountain a great American novel? How does the novel engage with or mirror biblical imagery, and what role does biblical allusion play in the work? Who influenced Baldwin’s writings, and who did his writings influence? — Join the National Association of Scholars on December 2nd to find out! — This event will feature Douglas Field, Senior Lecturer in 20th Century American Literature at The University of Manchester; Doug Sikkema, Assistant Professor of Core Studies and English at Redeemer University; and Ralph Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-great-american-novel-series-go-tell-it-on-the-mountain-james-baldwin-tickets-158150108231?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Thu, 12/2, 3:30 pm — James Lawson Institute: Civil Resistance & Nonviolent Movements — Immigration – 1950s to Now – What Has Changed, What Remains? — Please join us for the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements at Vanderbilt University for our inaugural fall series. In this series, we will explore Movements in Nonviolence through research, conversations, and practices to prepare the next generation to engage in nonviolent approaches to social change — Immigration – 1950s to Now – What Has Changed, What Remains? — Join for a screening of the documentary “My name is Maria De Jesus” and a discussion on immigration rights and the struggle for just policies: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/james-lawson-institute-civil-resistance-nonviolent-movements-tickets-208063472447?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Fri, 12/3, 3 am through 12/10 — Join David Graeber Tribute LSE Anthropology Friday Seminar Series — In Honour of David Graeber: Exploring the Fissures and Cracks — An LSE Anthropology Seminar series that strives to come to terms with our dear colleague and friend’s extraordinary intellectual generosity and optimism. In each session, two anthropologists will lead a critical discussion on one of David Graeber’s key gifts of writing, exploring the fissures and cracks, as David liked to, in order to grow our thoughts and actions. Chaired by Alpa Shah — 3 December 2021 Bureaucracy; Nayanika Mathur (Oxford Assoc Professor Anthropology) and Michael Herzfeld (Harvard Monrad Research Professor of the Social Sciences): 10 December 2021 Bullshit Jobs; Mao Mollona (Goldsmiths Senior Lecturer Anthropology) and Andrew Sanchez (Cambridge Associate Professor Anthropology): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/join-david-graeber-tribute-lse-anthropology-friday-seminar-series-tickets-164329216109?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1
Fri, 12/3, 11 am — ODDconvo: Creating Utopia — What worlds get to exist beyond our imagination? — Utopia literally means ‘nowhere.’ For some people, that may seem bleak. For us here at GariTalks, Nowhere is the space of infinite possibility — Creating Utopia, part of the ODDconvo (Oh Das Deep conversations) series, is a space to collectively channel the power of Imagination to generate new ideas about what this world around us could look like — “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” – Lewis Carroll — Once a month, on the 1st Friday, we gather and actively ask ourselves the questions: “What worlds get to exist beyond what we currently see and don’t see? What worlds are we longing to build?” — Come talk about the unexpected. Come share in the power of dreaming — GariTalks: Creating spaces for transformative healing experiences through intentional reflection, connective dialogue, and mindfull storytelling: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oddconvo-creating-utopia-tickets-165484062285?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Fri, 12/3, 3 pm — “The Ants & The Grasshopper” Screening & Community Talk — Please join the University of California, Merced for a community discussion regarding the film, “The Ants & The Grasshopper” on Friday, 12/3 at 3 pm PST — About the Film: “Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, Anita Chitaya sets out on a journey to persuade Americans that climate change is real.” — Directed by Zak Piper and Raj Patel — A link to screen the film will be emailed to those registered on 12/2. The film will be available to watch for the 48 hours before the community discussion on 12/3 at 3 pm PST — The event is free and open to the public: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-ants-the-grasshopper-screening-community-talk-tickets-215369705587?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Sun, 12/5, 11 am — WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?: A Conversation With Richard Gilman-Opal — Exploring seldom asked and deeply radical concepts at the cutting edge of creating a more humane world — In The Communism of Love, Richard Gilman-Opalsky makes the case that what is called “love” by the best thinkers, is in fact, the beating heart of communism—understood as a form of life, not as a form of government — Why is capitalist exchange value the enemy of love? Does the human aspiration to love embody a longing for communist relationality? In the ruins of the 20th Century’s revolutions, what is communism anyway? And in a world dominated by violence and hate can we find ways to create and build love? Why do these questions matter relative to human development and social justice? — Join Gilman-Opalsky and Dan Friedman for this open conversation—your questions and comments welcome—exploring seldom asked and deeply radical concepts at the cutting edge of creating a more humane world — PRESENTERS: Dan Friedman is a member of the faculty of the East Side Institute and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Castillo Theatre, which he helped to found in 1983. He is managing producer of the Institute’s podcast, “All Power to the Developing,” and co-chair, with Lois Holzman, of Performing the World Happening(s). He is a playwright and theatre director with a doctorate in theatre history from the University of Wisconsin. His latest book, Performance Activism: Precursors and Contemporary Pioneers, is the first book-length study of performance activism, to be published by Palgrave later this year — Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Professor of political theory and philosophy in the School of Politics and International Affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of six books, including The Communism of Love, Specters of Revolt, Precarious Communism and Spectacular Capitalism. He is also co-editor of the book Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century and co-author of Riotous Epistemology. He has lectured widely throughout North America and Europe, including at Goldsmiths University of London, Loughboro University, University of Essex, at University of La Plata Argentina, and as visiting professor at Shaanxi Normal University in China: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-a-conversation-with-richard-gilman-opal-registration-201900097627?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Mon, 12/6, 10 am — A Conversation between James Kelman and Noam Chomsky — Join us on Monday, December 6th for a conversation between James Kelman and Noam Chomsky — This event is the virtual book launch event for Between Thought and Expression Lies a Lifetime: Why Ideas Matter — Between Thought and Expression Lies a Lifetime: Why Ideas Matter is an impassioned, elucidating, and often humorous collaboration. Philosophical and intimate, it is a call to ponder, imagine, explore, and act — James Kelman is a Scottish novelist, short story writer, playwright, and essayist whose many literary awards include the Booker and James Tait Black prizes. He started writing at the age of twenty-two: ramblings, musings, sundry phantasmagoria, stories, whatever. In 1969 while working in London he met and married Marie Connors from South Wales. They settled in Glasgow, where he has lived as writer, father, and grandfather. Kelman has been a vocal supporter of the Kurdish people and campaigns regularly with Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan — Noam Chomsky is a laureate professor at the University of Arizona and professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. His work is widely credited with having revolutionized the field of modern linguistics and Chomsky is one of the foremost critics of U.S. foreign policy. He has published numerous groundbreaking books, articles, and essays on global politics, history, and linguistics. His recent books include Who Rules the World? and Hopes and Prospects: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-conversation-between-james-kelman-and-noam-chomsky-tickets-193148320827?aff=erellivmlt
Mon, 12/6, 2 pm — Ask Me Anything Featuring Leslie Davenport — Please join the University of California, Merced on Monday, 12/6 at 2 PM PST for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Leslie Davenport! — Biography: Leslie Davenport (she/her/hers) works as a climate psychology educator and consultant, integrating social science insights into relevant resources for organizations exploring the intersectionality of climate, economics, policy, and social justice. She helped shape the document, “Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance.” She is the author of four books including Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change and All the Feelings Under the Sun. She is an advisor for the non-profits Project InsideOut, Integrative Healers Action Network, and One Resilient Earth, and is on faculty with the California Institute of Integral Studies, Master’s program in Professional Psychology and Health. http://www.lesliedavenport.com — This virtual event is free and open to the public — Can’t attend, but have a question for Leslie? Email emeyer4 [at] ucmerced.edu the question: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ask-me-anything-featuring-leslie-davenport-tickets-204207830117?aff=erelpanelorg
Mon, 12/6, 7 pm — Introduction to Drawdown Climate Solutions — This webinar will introduce the basic concepts of Drawdown, a solution-based approach to climate action — Climate Change can be reversed! Peer reviewed international research shows that it is possible to actually “drawdown” our greenhouse gases. These solutions to our climate crisis exist right now – we just need to implement them on an individual, community, national, and global level — Organized by Drawdown BC: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introduction-to-drawdown-climate-solutions-tickets-172937489687?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Tue, 12/7, 10 am — Regenerative Futures — *Please note this is a Zoom webinar and places are limited. If you wish to join the event please register for a ticket* — The 2021 Bicentenary Medal Address Regenerative Futures: redesigning the human impact on earth — Dr Daniel Christian Wahl is awarded the 2021 RSA Bicentenary Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to regenerative design — In his Medal address, Dr Wahl will offer reflections on 20 years of research and professional practice exploring the role of design as a catalyst for the transition towards a future of diverse regenerative cultures everywhere — Speaker: Daniel Christian Wahl, educator and author of Designing Regenerative Cultures: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/regenerative-futures-tickets-213574786937?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Wed, 12/8. 11 am — GM ‘Designer Babies’: Breakthrough or Nightmare? — Three years after the world’s first genetically modified babies were created, what are the implications for society? — Dec 8th: Organised by Stop Designer Babies — In 2018, the Chinese scientists created the world’s first genetically modified (GM) babies. Despite the worldwide outrage, next March the science establishment are meeting in London to push the ‘genome editing’ agenda forward — Some scientists claim that genetic modification is needed to prevent genetic diseases, but is that really true? In a world still riven with disability, race and class oppression and other examples of eugenics, will allowing people to engineer their babies’ genes make social inequalities even worse? Will it turn children into just another designed and optimised commodity? — Join us at our free online event to discuss these issues and what we can do about them — Sigrid Graumann, feminist bioethicist and member of the German Ethics Council will make the case against GM babies — Angus Clarke, clinical geneticist from Cardiff University will explain why genetic modification is unnecessary — PLUS contributions from members of Stop Designer Babies (SDB) — For more information, or to be kept informed about SDB events, contact info at: stopdesignerbabies.org We are planning another event in February on the links between climate, GM food and GM babies: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gm-designer-babies-breakthrough-or-nightmare-tickets-210931560977?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1
Wed, 12/8. 5 pm — A Top Thinker Discusses our Personal, National and Global Crises — Jared Mason Diamond is an American geographer, historian, ornithologist, and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee (1991); Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997, awarded a Pulitzer Prize); Collapse (2005), The World Until Yesterday (2012), and Upheaval (2019). Originally trained in biochemistry and physiology, Diamond is known for drawing from a variety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, geography, and evolutionary biology. He is a professor of geography at UCLA. Diamond has been ranked ninth on a poll by Prospect and Foreign Policy of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-top-thinker-discusses-our-personal-national-and-global-crises-tickets-205806020347?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Thu, 12/9, 9 am — BLACK LIBERATION & WORKER COOPERATIVES: Innovative Organizing — The COVID crisis further exposed the social, political and environmental inequities embedded in our society. However, the pandemic created opportunities for communities to organize and practice cooperative solutions to enhance capacity for fundamental system change. Join us to learn about the innovative work of Cooperation Jackson — Featuring: Kali Akuno Co-Founder & Co-Director – Cooperation Jackson — Rebecca Lurie Director, Community Worker Ownership Project, Faculty – CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-liberation-worker-cooperatives-innovative-organizing-tickets-215795579387?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
Thu, 12/9, 9 am — Algorithmic Desire and the Ideology of Twenty-First Century Capitalism — Much has been written about the more deleterious dimensions of social media websites, platforms, and apps, from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to Instagram and Snapchat, dating apps like Tinder, and more recent apps like TikTok. We are all more than familiar with critiques of social media corporate and government surveillance, the commodification, expropriation and exploitation of user-provided data, the tailoring and curation of content, and of course recent dilemmas focused on fake news tying our use of social media to international cyberwarfare. Given all of these potential problems, why don’t we just give up and abandon our attachment to social media? How might we grapple with the exploitative and anti-democratic aspects of social media set against the kinds of enjoyment that it procures? — Despite some of these problems, Matthew Flisfeder argues that social media helps us to grasp the co-ordinates, not merely of our trouble with machines and new media, but with the larger totality of twenty-first century capitalism. Conceiving social media as a central metaphor for our historical present, Flisfeder proposes extending the concept to its fullest potentials. Instead of abandoning the concept, Flisfeder argues that the term social media helps us to render what is problematic about contemporary neoliberal capitalism, proposing that it is only by pursuing and failing to achieve a truly authentic social media as our goal that we are best positioned to understand the real contradictions of our time, as well as dominant forms of subjectivity, consciousness, and enjoyment — Biography: Matthew Flisfeder is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Communications at The University of Winnipeg (Canada). He is the author of Algorithmic Desire: Toward a New Structuralist Theory of Social Media (Northwestern UP 2021), Postmodern Theory and Blade Runner (Bloomsbury 2017), The Symbolic, The Sublime, and Slavoj Žižek’s Theory of Film (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and co-editor of Žižek and Media Studies: A Reader (Palgrave Macmillan 2014): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/algorithmic-desire-and-the-ideology-of-twenty-first-century-capitalism-tickets-170528374960?aff=erellivmlt&keep_tld=1
Thu, 12/9, 10:30 am — Brazil’s 2022 election: Lula’s return Vs Bolsonaro’s anti-democratic agenda — Brazil elections 2022: Take a stand with the resistance against Bolsonaro’s anti-democratic crackdown – for Lula & Brazilian Democracy! — Brazil’s 2022 election: Lula’s return Vs Bolsonaro’s anti-democratic clampdown — With elections under a year away, Bolsonaro has been ramping up threats against democracy and the electoral system. The far-right President has openly said that he will claim fraud if he loses, and that “only god” can remove him from power — We must show the far-right in Brazil that the world is watching, and support the huge movements of resistance against Bolsonaro. If elections were held today, former President Lula da Silva would win in the first round — Show your international solidarity and support with: Richard Burgon MP – Brazil Solidarity Initiative Chair; Nathalia Urban – Journalist, Brasil Wire; Alex Main – Policy Analyst, Centre for Economic and Policy Research (US) — This election is crucial for the social, indigenous, environmental, quilombo, trade union, LGBT+, women’s, black and other groups fighting back against Bolsonaro’s reactionary and hate-filled agenda — Please show your solidarity and support. This event is hosted by the Brazil Solidarity Initiative: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brazils-2022-election-lulas-return-vs-bolsonaros-anti-democratic-agenda-tickets-195876551037?aff=erellivmlt
Thu, 12/9, 11 am — Dialogue III: Deep Ecology, Mindfulness & Climate Emergency — Can inner shifts in perspectives help us respond more skilfully to the climate and environmental crisis? — In this third Science & Wisdom LIVE dialogue, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Dr. Stephan Harding, and Dr. David Loy will discuss the urgent topic of the climate emergency and environmental crisis — As scientists and activists warn us about the potential dangers ahead, new paradigms are emerging to help us navigate the challenges of our times. Deep Ecology invites us to experience (and act from) a deep feeling of our interconnectedness with the natural world. Similarly, contemplative practices (such as mindfulness and meditation) can deepen our sense of oneness with the living universe around us — We will hear from scientists and contemplative practitioners about what it takes to be an activist and induce change, while still keeping a positive mind — Dr. Vandana Shiva earned a PhD. In Nuclear Physics at the University of Western Ontario and later studied science policy in Bangalore, where she explored interdisciplinary research in Science, Technology and Environmental policy — She emerged as an authority in the field of environmental impact and founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, dedicated to opposing the use of patented, genetically-engineered seeds. In 1991, Dr Shiva founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds, and to oppose what she calls the colonization of life itself under intellectual property and patent laws — Dr Shiva sees Biodiversity as intimately linked to Cultural Diversity and Knowledge Diversity, and recently launched a global movement called Diverse Women for Diversity. Among Vandana Shiva’s many honours is the Right Livelihood Award – also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is the author of more than 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals, and many books — Dr. David R. Loy is a Professor of Buddhist and Comparative Philosophy, a writer, and a teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism. His books include Money Sex War Karma, A New Buddhist Path, and most recently Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis. He is one of the founders of the new Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, near Boulder, Colorado — Dr. Stephan Harding’s doctorate at the University of Oxford was on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer — After teaching conservation biology at the National University of Costa Rica, he became a founder member of Schumacher College, and later was appointed as a founding chair holder of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo — Stephan is the author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia, and his latest book, Gaia Alchemy, will be published in January 2022: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dialogue-iii-deep-ecology-mindfulness-climate-emergency-tickets-184881534647?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1
Thu, 12/9, 5 pm — Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet – Book Club/Study — The Midwest Earth Holder Community will be facilitating a book club to study the new book by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet. The book club will start on Thursday, December 9 and meet every other Thursday with the last meeting on Thursday, March 3 (seven meetings). All meetings will be on Zoom — Each meeting will be facilitated by a Midwest Earth Holder Community Group member. Meetings will have a short meditation, a Dharma sharing/talk by the facilitator about the book section being studied, a Dharma sharing/discussion in small groups, and a closing with Sharing the Merit — For information about the book, please go to: https://www.harpercollins.com/pages/zenandthepla The Eventbrite page is here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/zen-and-the-art-of-saving-the-planet-book-clubstudy-tickets-210683689587?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch
Mon, 12/13, 10 am — Reading Group: for generations that are yet to be born — Join artist and Bluecoat Project Curator Katherine Ka Yi Liu 廖加怡 for a restorative online reading group — This group is a safe platform for collective reading and sharing. It holds space for care and encourages the practice of reading together as a form of survival, resistance and healing under our current post-lockdown but still in pandemic condition — In the first few sessions, the group will be focusing on exploring different chapters from All About Love: New Visions (Love Song to the Nation) (2000) by African-American scholar and activist bell hooks. Each chapter deconstructs and reframes our assumptions about “love” as a primarily romantic emotion and how love became a “cliché”, instead it reconnects us to love that is redemptive, and healing; an understanding of love that in Covid times we need more than ever — Join us regularly each month or drop in for one session. No need to complete the reading beforehand, there will be time to read each chapter at the beginning of the group and time for discussion after. Free, booking required — Schedule: Monday 13 December 21 – all about love, chapter 11, Loss: Loving into life and death Monday 10 January 22 – all about love, chapter 12, Healing: Redemptive Love Monday 14 February 22- all about love, chapter 8, Community: Loving Communion Monday 14 March 22 – all about love, chapter 4, Commitment: Let Love be Be Love in Me: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/reading-group-for-generations-that-are-yet-to-be-born-mon-13-dec-tickets-216853503667?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1
If you boost the people who have originally received J and J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J and J.
A new pill holds promise for already infected patients …
And COVID concern at the zoo — especially for the endangered species …
All on today’s The Inside Story: Fighting the Pandemic.
“Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America” is the motto of HHS, charged with decision making about the pandemic.
Much of it happens right here, on the 7th floor of this building, in the offices of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
More than 700 and 30 thousand (730,000) Americans have died from COVID-19.
Worldwide — we’re closing in on five million COVID-related deaths.
But vaccines and other treatments are helping the worldwide battle against the virus.
These pills carry hope for those who catch COVID.
The drug manufacturer Merck says Molnupiravir prevents the coronavirus from multiplying.
Taken early, clinical trials show the pill reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by half. And it’s easy to use.
Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University Medical Center:
They could go to their pharmacy and take their medication the way they do other medicines.
If the Food and Drug Administration approves Merck’s request for emergency use, the pills could be available in the U.S. before the end of the year. The company plans similar emergency use applications worldwide.
But financing and distributing this drug and other treatments, including vaccines, to underdeveloped parts of the world remains a challenge.
The U.S. has pre-purchased one-point-seven million courses of the drug.
To help get the drug to the rest of the world faster, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up 120 million dollars to push makers of generic drugs to produce Merck’s drug for developing countries.
Money is at the heart of any COVID treatment. Dr. Caleb Hernandez is an emergency room doctor who also researches COVID drug discoveries.
He says three other drug treatments have been studied, including one that rivals Merck’s claims for Molnupiravir. He says they lack the financial backing to seek FDA approval.
Our government isn’t set up to do these, spend the 500 thousand dollars to do these studies. We rely on private companies to bring things to the FDA. And that’s why you’re not going see as much innovation as you could see.
And there is concern about relying on the Merck pill instead of getting a vaccine, which experts prefer since it teaches the body to make its own antibodies.
Jeffrey Zients, White House Coronavirus Coordinator:
It can prevent you from getting COVID in the first place, and we want to prevent infections, not just wait to treat them once they happen.
Dr. Caleb Hernandez, Coney Island Hospital (audio is him singing):
All I can think about is that look on your face
Dr. Hernandez sings a tribute to a colleague who quit the profession — burned out from COVID.
Dr. Caleb Hernandez, Coney Island Hospital:
We’ve been going for almost two years now fighting every day, watching people die, and I, and I think it’s difficult when people in the community don’t believe you. They think that you’re part of some conspiracy or you’re exaggerating and making things up, and then you go to work, and you have to pronounce multiple people dead.
The World Health Organization endorsed the world’s first-ever malaria vaccine this fall.
The move marks a major advance against the mosquito-borne illness, which kills more than 260,000 children across Africa every year.
VOA visited one father in Nigeria, who is hoping to get his family vaccinated as quickly as possible – as Timothy Obiezu tells us in this report:
TIMOTHY OBIEZU, Reporting for VOA:
Bitrus Yusuf’s three-year-old daughter and grandson recently came down with malaria.
He says the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the disease is all too common at this Abuja camp for internally displaced people.
Bitrus Yusuf, Father of Sick Child:
We went to bed, all was well everybody was well. But toward midnight I heard him shivering, as I touched his body (it was) very hot, so I woke him up.
Yusuf took the children to a local dispensary, bought some antimalarial drugs and is now administering them at home.
More than 90 percent of malaria cases and deaths worldwide occur in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Nigeria accounts for more than a quarter of the fatalities. Children under five years old and pregnant women are mostly affected.
Last week, the global health body endorsed the rollout of the world’s first malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, after more than three decades of development.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the vaccine could potentially change the course of public health history.
Walter Kazadi Mulombo is the WHO representative in Nigeria.
You know before the vaccine could be introduced in the country, it has to be cleared by NAFDAC for the case of Nigeria and there are steps to be taken for the country to approve the vaccine so that introduction can start.
Some 2.3 million doses of the vaccine were administered to children in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana during a large-scale pilot program that began in 2019.
The WHO says the vaccine could help prevent four in ten cases of malaria, but Mulombo says widespread availability may prove difficult for now.
Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Nigeria Representative:
There may be some supply issues so, it may not be in the quantity we require to reach all those that we need to reach. But we understand that GSK, the manufacturer, is working already with some African countries to decentralize production.
The new vaccine will not replace other malaria preventive measures, says Abuja health official Ndaeyo Iwot.
Ndaeyo Iwot, Abuja Primary Healthcare Board:
If you don’t combine it with sleeping under insecticide treated nets and also taking care of your environment, where the vectors can breed, then you’re more likely to continue to have the scourge of malaria in this country.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline says it will manufacture about 15 million doses yearly, but experts say at least 50 to 100 million doses will be needed every year in areas with moderate to high transmission.
In the meantime, Nigerian parents like Yusuf are hoping to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. Timothy Obiezu, for VOA News, Abuja, Nigeria.
About 58-percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated— that means two shots of either Moderna or Pfizer … or one shot of Johnson & Johnson.
Now, work is underway for booster shots to maintain protection against COVID.
People may be able to choose which shot to get as a booster.
President Biden’s top COVID adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, explains the science behind mixing and matching vaccines:
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease:
If you boost people who have originally received J and J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J and J, but the data of boosting the J and J first dose with the J and J second dose is based on clinical data. So, what’s going to happen is that the FDA is going to look at all those data, look at the comparison and make a determination of what they will authorize.
Once an authorization is made, then the ACIP, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that advises the CDC, will then make a recommendation of what people who have been receiving and have received the J and J should do.
What we’re dealing with we’re dealing with data rolling in real time, not only from the cohorts that the CDC is following, but also in real time we’re getting very important data from Israel. because as I’ve said so often, Israel is about a month or a month and a half ahead of us, temporally, with their vaccination and with the data that they’re seeing about the waning of immunity, as well as the advantage of boosting people at different age groups. so the data we’re starting to see from Israel, indicates that even in the somewhat younger group for example, from 40 to 60, there’s a real benefit in getting the booster shot.
So, what we’ll be doing here in the United States, both trough the FDA and the CDC will be to following these data, as they accumulate in real time. And any modification of the recommendations will be based on the data as they come in.
While some Americans are lining up for their booster shots, a spike in Covid-19 infections among zoo animals is causing concern.
VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias reports on the vaccine rollout and which species will get their first shot.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS, Reporting for VOA:
Nine big cats at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo tested “presumptive positive” in September for the virus that causes COVID-19. Fortunately, they are now eating and behaving normally after receiving treatment for secondary bacterial infections.
Craig Saffoe, Smithsonian’s National Zoo Curator:
There’s no treatment for COVID itself so our veterinarians started treating with antibiotics, there were pain meds given, anti-nausea and appetite stimulant.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS:
How the felines got infected is still unknown.
Craig Saffoe, Smithsonian’s National Zoo Curator:
The most likely scenario was that an asymptomatic staff member passed it along. It’s an airborne virus so things do get out around your masks.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS:
Other species, such as primates, are testing positive for COVID-19 in zoos across the U.S.
The Washington D.C. and Baltimore zoos are among those gearing up to use an available experimental Covid vaccine to boost the immunity of their at-risk animals.
Cheetahs are one of the endangered species that will get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year at the Maryland Zoo.
It should be a smooth process since many of the animals at this facility are already trained by technicians to receive injections on a routine basis.
Ellen Bronson, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore:
Something like a stick at first to just push a little bit on the animal for some pressure and then they’ll move to something like a needle with a cap on it. Then they’ll move up to an actual injection. So, there are multiple steps to get them to the point that they are voluntarily training for that procedure.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS:
The pharmaceutical company ‘Zoetis’ is donating over 11,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to zoos nationwide. The company says the vaccine has proven to be safe in dogs, cats and minks. But since it hasn’t been tested in zoo animals, it’s hard to say yet if they’ll be protected, particularly against the delta variant, and for how long.
Mahesh Kumar, Zoetis Vice President of Global Biologics:
Giving them two doses, you at least reduce the risk of exposure. /The groups that receive the experimental vaccine have an obligation to report back to us and the USDA the disposition of those vaccines and what happened to those animals.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS:
On October 7th, a snow leopard who had shown COVID-19 symptoms died at The Great Plains Zoo in South Dakota. A necropsy will determine the cause of death.
Given the large number of visitors at zoos nationwide, questions have been raised over whether Covid-19 infections among the animals could pose a public health risk.
Luis Schang, Cornell University Professor of Chemical Virology:
Probably not, because the population is small, so the infection will self-extinguish, meaning the animals will recover or they will die. /At the end of the clinical trial if there are infections in unvaccinated zoos and not in vaccinated zoos, we will have some evidence of the potency of the vaccine.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS:
Staffers at the Maryland zoo are hopeful the vaccine will indeed provide an extra layer of protection against Covid-19, especially for several species which are already listed as ‘endangered’.
Ellen Bronson, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore:
Losing an animal in a zoo, there’s always an impact. They are valuable to the breeding programs, they’re valuable to the troupe that they are in, the group they are in, so obviously it would have a big impact on us.
VERONICA BALDERAS IGLESIAS:
Veronica Balderas Iglesias, for VOA News, at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
Just a few blocks from here is the National Mall —- a beautiful expanse of greenspace.
Earlier this month, that greenspace was dotted in white to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died from COVID.
Amy Hybels goes inside the exhibit and the artist’s motivation to create it.
Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, Artist:
This is the hardest part of the day, is having to change these numbers.
AMY HYBELS, Reporting for VOA:
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center tracks COVID-19 deaths worldwide. The U.S. toll continues to rise.
Maryland artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg does more than change numbers, she hopes to change minds with a 20-acre public art installation on the National Mall.
Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, Artist:
By creating this physical manifestation of this art, maybe I will break through the consciousness of some who are choosing not yet to get a vaccination, or who are upset about having to wear a mask.
Firstenberg and volunteers from a local landscaping company spent three days planting more than 600-thousand white flags near the Washington Monument.
Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, Artist:
I’ve been a hospice volunteer for 25 years, and I wanted to help reclaim the dignity of each person who has died in the United States from COVID.
Charonda Johnson sings in honor of her late father, retired Master Sergeant Kevin Taylor of Dover, Delaware. Johnson says her dad died of COVID-19 last year on August 17th. The night she was invited to sing on the Mall — September 24th — would have been his 65th birthday.
Charonda Johnson, COVID-19 Victim’s Daughter:
I wanted to be here to process my own grief, but also to help other families who are hurting figure out how do we rebuild, how do we put our worlds back together?
Amber Spencer is mourning the loss of her friend Brinae Whatcott, a young wife and new mom from Fort Smith, Arkansas.
According to her family, Whatcott, who had contracted COVID-19, gave birth by cesarean section in August. She died soon after seeing her child for the first time while in hospice, on September 23rd.
Amber Spencer, Friend Died of COVID-19:
They brought her baby, India, in to meet her — to say hello and goodbye at the same time.
Whatcott, who was only 28, had lost her father to COVID-19. His flag is planted right next to hers. Spencer says the number of flags displayed helped her to comprehend the magnitude of loss.
Amber Spencer, Friend Died of COVID-19:
I feel like we should trust the people who dedicate their lives to studying infectious diseases and believe what they say and listen to what they say to help stop the numbers from rising.
More than 3,000 flags have red stickers, signifying the loss of a health care provider.
Shama LeFevre, Lost Father to COVID-19:
This is wonderful, just to come and have a moment, and just ‘remember.’
Shama LeFevre says dedicating a flag on the National Mall in honor of her dad — Yogi Dumera of Arlington, Virginia — is important for her daughter.
Shama LeFevre, Lost Father to COVID-19:
I wanted her to understand what all this meant and what the last 7-8 months of our lives have really meant, kind of grieving and going through all this.
Born in India, her father moved to the U.S., where he raised a family and opened a restaurant. He survived a heart transplant but lost his battle with COVID-19 on December 30th.
The interactive exhibit gave families the opportunity to write personal messages for loved ones.
Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, Artist:
I do hope that when we conceive of a permanent memorial that part of it will be looking inwards and figuring out how to never let this happen again.
After 17 days, the installation closed after taps at sunset on Sunday. Firstenberg says any flag with writing on it will be cleaned, documented and archived. She says she learned that the experience has allowed visitors to understand they’re not alone in their grief. Amy Hybels for VOA News, Washington.
We have all had moments of frustration during this pandemic. But it has been especially exhausting for health providers.
VOA’s Anna Rice has the story of one nurse and her heroics on the front lines and behind the scenes.
ANNA RICE, VOA Reporter:
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the US, ICU nurse Lee Harper-Chen dedicated her time to helping her community in Arlington, Virginia even after long exhausting shifts.
Lee Harper-Chen, Intensive Care Unit Nurse:
I was scared, and I thought – let me fight my fear with facts; let me find good information to share and that way not only can I conquer my fear, but I can help educate others!
Harper-Chen became an active member of a local Arlington Facebook group where she shared news and updates about the new coronavirus and fought disinformation.
Her efforts got the attention of local residents who nominated her for Arlington County’s Community COVID-19 Hero Award.
Heather Geldart, Arlington Public Safety Communications:
Arlington has done such an exceptional job in demonstrating that resilience, being together and taking care of one another. The 122 nominations – and as you can see there are at least three or four people who have gotten dozens of nominations, including Lee Harper-Chen.
Harper-Chen – who spent so many months taking care of patients at work and her family at home – says she contracted the virus at work.
Lee Harper-Chen, Intensive Care Unit Nurse:
I got COVID at my hospital, I did not get it from a patient, I got it from another
nurse. That was a scary time, I had to isolate away from my two little children for 22 days. After I felt well enough, I would come outside and sit in the driveway and watch my children play.
Sam, Lee Harper-Chen’s Son:
I remember when she was really sick, and she just stayed in her room
the entire time. I never really got to see her.
Her family worried about her continuing to work.
Lee Harper-Chen, Intensive Care Unit Nurse:
Almost a year after I recovered, they would get nervous if I would leave.
Like many other heroes during the COVID pandemic, Harper-Chen has a stethoscope for a wand and scrubs for a cape. Residents say her main weapon is love and dedication – to her family, to her community, and to her every patient. For Liliya Anisimova in Arlington, Virginia, Anna Rice, VOA News.
Before we go, a few moments to recognize the passing of Colin Powell.
The retired Four-Star General was battling cancer and died October 18th caused by compilations from Covid-19. He was 84.
VOA Pentagon Correspondent Carla Babb looks at Powell’s life and legacy.
Voices of unidentified soldiers:
NAT HOOAH! Yall Alright!
CARLA BABB, VOA Pentagon Correspondent:
Colin Powell was a respected military general, statesmen, and one of America’s foremost Black figures.
He served as national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and finally, Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, the first African American to ever serve in the latter two leadership posts.
Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State:
I was sitting in my office and one of the senior members came in and closed the door and said, “Sir I have to ask you something, a lot of confusion in the building.” I said, “What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘Well what do we call you, do we call you general or Mr. Secretary?’ I said, ‘By all means it’s Mr. Secretary. Now drop and give me 10!’”
Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution:
The passing of Colin Powell is the end of an era. He personified the great excellence and achievement of African Americans in our nation’s armed forces and in some ways, perhaps even paving the way for the Obama presidency.
In 1996, Powell considered a bid to become the first Black president, but his wife discouraged him out of fear of potential assassination attempts from extremists.
When Democrat Barack Obama made the bid years later, the moderate Republican broke with his party to endorse Obama.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the first Black U.S. Defense Secretary, called Powell a tremendous mentor and friend.
Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense:
He always made time for me. And I could always go to him with tough issues, he always had great, great counsel. We will certainly miss him. I feel as if I have a hole in my heart.
Wounded twice as a young soldier in Vietnam, the war shaped his views of when and how presidents should and should not use armed forces.
Antony Blinken, Secretary of State:
I believe Secretary Powell’s years as a soldier are what made him such an exceptional diplomat. He knew that war and military action should always be a last resort.
Powell received high praise for his overwhelming use of force in the Gulf War, which quickly pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991.
But critics have denounced his controversial presentation to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003. Powell made the case for the invasion of Iraq during the George W. Bush administration, citing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that were never found.
Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State:
The facts on Iraq’s behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort, no effort, to disarm as required by the international community.
John Isaacs, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation:
That’s probably the major blemish on his record, but it really wasn’t only his blemish. It was the whole intelligence community. I think they’re 13 different intelligence agencies, and 12 out of 13 said, ‘Iraq has weapons of mass destruction,’ and he studied and he came to agree. They were all wrong.
Even Powell later called the presentation a “blot” in his career. Today, Republicans and Democrats alike uphold him as a man of honor, and a patriot to the end. Carla Babb, VOA News, The Pentagon.
That’s all for now. Follow me for COVID and other news on Twitter at CarolynVOA. Connect with us on Instagram and Facebook at VOANews.
And stay up to date online at VOANews.com.
For all of us here and behind the scenes at VOA, I’m Carolyn Presutti