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How world is learning to live with the virus, struggling newspaper models & other Covid news

As the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up, ThePrint highlights the most important stories on the crisis from across the globe.

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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate several countries across the world — the latest count is over 90.5 lakh cases and more than 4.85 lakh deaths.

Tens of millions of world’s migrant workers might face extended unemployment and poverty due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, coronavirus has destroyed newspapers’ business models and how effective is telemedicine.

ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.  

Tens of millions of migrant workers face unemployment and poverty

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), tens of millions of migrants workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are likely to remain unemployed and fall into poverty.

Furthermore, as lockdowns ease across several countries, most of the world’s estimated 164 million international migrant workers could be asked to return to their home countries, which are already dealing with rising unemployment and falling remittances, reports the Financial Times.

“ILO officials, who have conducted informal research in more than 20 countries, said about 500,000 migrant workers had already returned from India to Nepal, with a similar number expected to follow from the Middle East and Malaysia. India itself has repatriated around 220,000 workers, mostly from the Gulf states,” notes the report.

“Around 250,000 migrant workers had returned to Bangladesh, more than 100,000 to Myanmar, and Ethiopian authorities expected up to 500,000 nationals to return by the end of the year, the ILO said. Around 50,000 migrant workers have already returned to the Philippines — most of them seafarers, as well as some domestic workers — but the government expects much larger numbers to return by the end of the year,” it adds.

From China to Germany, the world is learning to live with the virus

As most countries look towards easing lockdown restrictions, some of them also face increasing risks of a second wave of infections. However, the governments and residents are no longer asking for another lockdown, instead the world is getting used to living with the novel coronavirus, according to a report in The New York Times.

“Around the world, governments that had appeared to tame the coronavirus are adjusting to the reality that the disease is here to stay. But in a shift away from damaging nationwide lockdowns, they are looking for targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks before they become third or fourth waves,” says the report.

“While the details differ, the strategies call for giving governments flexibility to tighten or ease as needed,” it adds. 

Pushed by coronavirus and protests, Trump goes back to the ‘wall’

US President Donald Trump, who has recently seen his popularity fade after the US government’s botched response to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests across the country, is now going back to familiar political issues as he faces an election later this year, reports the magazine Time.

Trump recently visited the under construction wall at the US-Mexico border in Arizona, a symbol of Trump’s dislike for immigrants and his most decisive political pitch in the upcoming elections.

“Amid continuing protests against systemic racism, the drag of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, and a weak turnout at his comeback rally in Tulsa, Trump’s visit to the border highlights the president’s own desire to spend time talking about immigration and border security, two issues that helped propel him to the White House four years ago,” says the report.

How a decades old Soviet study hint at coronavirus strategy 

In 1950s, a married pair of virologists in Soviet Russia tested a “live polio” vaccine on their kids. One of the side-effects they found is now sparking new hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, reports The New York Times.

Russian polio experts Dr Marina Voroshilova and Dr Mikhail Chumakov, developed a live police vaccine in the 1950s. Back then, they had found that it “had an unexpected benefit that, it turns out, could be relevant to the current pandemic: People who got the vaccine did not become sick with other viral illnesses for a month or so afterward.”

“Now, some scientists in several countries are taking a keen interest in the idea of repurposing existing vaccines, like the one with live poliovirus and another for tuberculosis, to see if they can provide at least temporary resistance to the coronavirus. Russians are among them, drawing on a long history of vaccine research — and of researchers, unconcerned about being scoffed at as mad scientists, experimenting on themselves,” notes the report.

Coronavirus rips a hole in newspapers’ business model

The coronavirus pandemic has led to intense financial pressure on newspaper models across the world, who are being forced to radically rethink their existing business models, reports a long-form investigation by the Financial Times.

“The news industry has been in decline for 30 years. US newspapers have lost almost half their newsroom staff since 2008, according to the Pew Research Center. But the pandemic has exposed the growing divide between a handful of publishers with more than 1m subscribers each, and the rest struggling to make ends meet,” notes the report.

Moreover, falling advertising revenue, especially digitally, has made survival extremely hard for cash-strapped news organisations.

“Research by Oxford university’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has shown that even the minority willing to pay for news largely do so for one publication — creating ‘winner-takes-most’ markets,” adds the report.

“The danger is a news divide between an elite paying audience, which is well-served but small, and a broader public that relies on publishers who are trying to monetise web traffic, but may struggle to report local news in depth,” remarks the report.

The trampling of Venice shows why tourism must change after Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has given Italian port cities such as Venice some breathing space and an opportunity to rethink a more “sustainable” and “greener” future, argues an opinion piece in The Guardian by author Neil Robbins.

Global tourism has grown from 25 million in 1950 to a pre-pandemic expected 1.8 billion by 2030, and this highlights the perils of a tourism town like Venice, which itself receives more than 30 million annual visitors. Such mass tourism has brought “mismanagement of the environment, corruption, political stasis and now the climate emergency” to Venice.

“The need in Venice, and in so many other destinations, is for a new tourism, one that also benefits residents – not one organised around speculators, landlords, and traveller’s demands. We visitors must see tourism less as an unquestionable entitlement and more as a part of our responsibility to sustain life on Earth. This must ultimately include limiting tourist numbers,” argues the piece.

The promise and peril of tele-healthcare

Tele-healthcare has gained a lot of attention since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, but how effective is it really, tries to explore a longform report in The New Yorker.

“Telehealth providers typically offer virtual urgent care for non-emergencies. And patients suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes and colitis, can conduct routine follow-ups online. Proponents of telehealth have long argued that fifty to seventy per cent of visits to the doctor’s office could be replaced by remote monitoring and checkups. But, until the pandemic, most Americans weren’t interested,” says the report.

What else we are reading:

Can the German economy pull Europe out of the coronavirus crisis?: Financial Times

Coronavirus: Why US is expecting an ‘avalanche’ of evictions: BBC

Pandemic hits ‘couchsurfing’ travel bug: Nikkei Asian Review

Lockdown listening: classical music and opera to stream at home: The Guardian  

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