New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count is more than 18.9 million cases and more than 7.11 lakh deaths.
Covid has brought the role of US governors into the limelight. Argentina attempts to manage its chronic debt troubles during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the refugee crisis in southern Europe worsens and why the pandemic has ended the economic philosophy of the past three decades.
ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.
Pandemic brings US governors into the limelight
Given that the US state governments have been at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus, it has put each of these governors in the limelight like never before, reports Politico.
The nature of US federalism means that each of its 50 governors enjoys unusual amounts of autonomous powers at the provincial level. But “for at least the next year … anyone holding one of these supposed dream jobs is going to have some long nights that might more closely resemble nightmares,” says the report.
“The 50 governors now have a centrality in American life that exceeds anything seen in generations. Every path forward for the country, from opening schools to reviving the economy and some semblance of normal routines, travels through their offices,” it adds.
Coronavirus and Argentina’s debt troubles
In addition to dealing with the pandemic, Argentina’s political leadership has been busy trying to resolve another issue — that of country’s chronic debt trouble. And now, President Alberto Fernandez announced a deal with the country’s biggest creditors on Tuesday, reports the Financial Times.
The deal is “to restructure $65bn of foreign debt — potentially bringing the country’s ninth sovereign debt default in May to an end.” The next stage would involve negotiating a debt restructuring agreement with the country’s largest creditor, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “which has lent Argentina $44bn“.
“The coronavirus crisis has only plunged the economy even deeper into a recession that is now into its third year, with the IMF expecting a contraction of 10 per cent this year. Argentina is also saddled with one of the world’s highest inflation rates, which will only be aggravated by extensive money printing since the pandemic struck,” says the report.
Pandemic leaves Amazon natives worse off than ever before
After having seen their homelands get destroyed by deforestation, mining, industrial farming and unlawful occupation of their territories, the indigenous people of the Amazon region are now being devastated by the pandemic, reports the Straits Times.
The Amazon rainforest covers nearly 40 per cent of South America’s land area and stretches across nine countries. “Around three million indigenous people — members of 400 tribes — live there, according to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO). Around 60 of those tribes live in total isolation,” notes the report.
“In late July, the Pan-Amazonian Church Network said more than 27,500 indigenous people belonging to 190 tribes had been infected on the continent with over 1,100 deaths,” says the report.
The health crisis has meant that several “indigenous people living in deep rainforest” have to decide between staying in their villages with minimal medical resources or go to the cities for treatment, “where they might not be able to practice ancestral funeral rites”.
Germany dealing with a second Covid wave
Germany might already be the midst of its second wave of Covid, as the number of infections is rising and people are increasingly flouting social distancing regulations, reports The Guardian.
The report adds, “The number of confirmed cases in Germany rose by 879 to 211,281, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported on Tuesday, and the country’s death toll climbed by eight to 9,156. More than half of Germany’s almost 21,000 intensive care beds are free and hospitals are well prepared, (Dr Susanne) Johna said.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, many German Covid-19 deniers came out and protested against the curbing of their freedoms. The politicians are reportedly wondering if they should be banning these protests, because they can also act as super spreader events.
Southern Europe’s refugee crisis worsens amidst the pandemic
The pandemic is helping to worsen the refugee crisis in Southern Europe with every passing day, reports the DW News.
“Mayors are sounding the alarm in southern Italy: reception centers for refugees are overcrowded, and there is growing resentment in the population. Other Mediterranean states also report rising numbers of refugees,” says the report. “More than 13,000 migrants have come to Italy this year via the Mediterranean Sea, which is about 9,000 more than in the same period last year.”
Kenya’s unusual solution to the education problem
Kenya might be the only country in the world that has responded to the issue of schooling during the pandemic by essentially cancelling the entire academic year and planning to start over, reports The New York Times.
“The decision to scrap the academic year, taken after months long debate, was made not just to protect teachers and students from the coronavirus, but also to address glaring issues of inequality that arose when school was suspended in March, said George Magoha, the education secretary. After schools closed, some students had the technology to access remote learning. Others didn’t,” the report explains.
Study shows Covid might spread in schools faster than expected
Further raising doubts about the reopening of schools amidst the pandemic, a new report has shows that Covid-19 transmission might be much higher than expected at schools and summer camps, reports The Guardian.
“A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into an outbreak at a summer camp in Georgia suggests children — even asymptomatic cases — may play an important role in community transmission of Covid-19. The claim contradicts a number of earlier studies where the consensus appeared to be that children rarely transmit the virus between themselves or to other people,” says the report.
New economic orthodoxy of tax and spend
While the pandemic has destroyed economies across the world, it is also putting an end to one economic philosophy that had dominated the minds of policymakers over the past three decades, argues Financial Times’ Martin Sandbu.
“The experience of ‘stagflation’ of the 1970s, and public debt spikes in the 1980s, produced a reaction in the form of a particular set of ideals of fiscal responsibility. Aiming to keep public deficits and debt to moderate levels became a mark of politicians’ seriousness; so did forswearing an increase in the state’s tax take to fund ever larger public spending as a share of national income,” he writes.
Even before the pandemic struck, the belief in this philosophy had been waning, as policymakers became more tolerant of debt. “With the economic fallout from Covid-19, received truths about fiscal responsibility will become impossible to hold on to,” he adds.
What else we are reading:
‘I want to get an outcome’: McConnell defends strategy as he faces GOP grumbling: Politico
‘Godspell’ in 2020: Masks, partitions and a contactless crucifixion: The New York Times
The class of Covid-19: can US college students really go back?: Financial Times
The new rules for packing a bag during the pandemic: The Washington Post
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