Reactions to Russian vaccine, Trump won’t do rallies with empty seats & other Covid news

Reactions to Russian vaccine, Trump won’t do rallies with empty seats & 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.

Vladimir Putin

File image of Russian President Vladimir Putin | Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg

New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count is more than 2.05 crore cases and more than 7.38 lakh deaths.

Experts around the world are reacting to Russia’s rushed Covid-19 vaccine, mostly with fear. US President Donald Trump might be willing to give up on campaign rallies. The ASEAN faces a complex choice between China and the US in the post pandemic world. Meanwhile, Israel has brought in the army to control the outbreak.

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

Experts react to Russian Covid vaccine

Scientific and medical experts around the world all seem to be concerned by Russia’s rushed Covid-19 vaccine, reports The New York Times.

“Dr. (Daniel) Salmon and other experts said that Russia is taking a dangerous step by jumping ahead of so-called Phase 3 trials, which can determine that the vaccine works better than a placebo and doesn’t cause harm to some people who get it,” says the report. “Unlike experimental drugs given to the sick, vaccines are intended to be given to masses of healthy people. So they must clear a high bar of safety standards.”

Doctors point to how in the third phase of a trial, tens of thousands are given the medicine or the placebo. “Then you wait to see, do they get sick or not. Do they die or not?” said Dr Steven Black, a vaccine expert at Global Health.

“This is all beyond stupid. Putin doesn’t have a vaccine, he’s just making a political statement,” said John Moore of Cornell Medical College.

Coronavirus vaccine pre-orders exceed 5 billion

Even before the efficacy of any of the coronavirus vaccine candidates has been proven, countries around the world are already scrambling to secure the supplies of the future anti-Covid drug, reports the South China Morning Post.

Until now, at least 5.7 billion doses have already been pre-ordered around the world.

“As research laboratories around the world race to develop a vaccine, manufacturers have received financing to help them prepare to have millions of doses ready to administer in 2021 or even before the end of the year,” notes the report.

Also read: Russia, China cut corners in vaccine race, fire and virus rage in Brazil & other Covid news

Trump won’t hold rallies with empty seats

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said that he does not want to do a rally with empty seats, casting doubts over the president’s most effective campaigning tool, reports The Washington Post.

“You can’t have empty seats. You know, if I had five empty seats — for instance, they said, ‘Would I do a rally, sir?’ The reason I won’t do them [is] because, ‘You can have one seat and then seven around that seat, sir, have to be empty,” said Trump during an interview to Fox News.

“With Trump trailing in national polls fewer than 90 days before the election and the coronavirus shutting down many schools and businesses through the fall, the future of the campaign rally is as uncertain as Trump’s odds for reelection,” says the report.

Europe risks repeat of post-2008 flash dawn

Soon after the 2008 financial crisis, European decision-makers shifted from stimulus to fiscal and monetary policy tightening, assuming that everything was back to normal. They should avoid such a false dawn in the post-pandemic period, argues Financial Times Martin Sandbu in an opinion piece.

“We should keep this vivid memory in mind today so as not to become complacent as the Covid-19 pandemic recovery picks up,” he writes. “The hope has always been that because the collapse was due to enforced lockdowns, economies could rebound quickly once those restrictions were lifted. The most recent numbers give ground for optimism.”

But even then many things could go wrong, argues Sandbu.

First, the pandemic is still not under control, as many European nations are seeing a second wave. Second, the bailouts and stimulus at play at the moment are likely to become politically controversial soon, as the scale of public borrowing and spending mounts. “Third, we have not yet seen the full economic damage of the lockdowns,” according to Sandbu.

Pandemic has threatened social mobility at UK’s universities

A long read in the Financial Times looks at how the pandemic seems to have temporarily disrupted social mobility just before universities are set to begin.

“If that prospect was already daunting, the disruption of coronavirus and the scrapping of exams this year, in favour of a series of statistical assessments, means that the future for the 700,000 A level students due to get their results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this week is even more uncertain than normal,” says the report.

This would, in turn, affect their prospects of being able to start university over the next couple of months. And students from ethnic minorities are likely to be especially affected, as they mostly hail from poorer families, which makes college education integral to their success in life.

Also read: UGC stand is clear — universities will have to conduct final-year exams to hand out degrees

Israel brings in the army to manage the pandemic

In an attempt to control the pandemic, the Israeli government has called in the army to “take over testing and contact-tracing operations, part of a major restructuring of its pandemic campaign that includes naming a ‘corona czar’ intended to be insulated from political pressures,” reports The Washington Post.

“As of Tuesday, Israel had recorded more than 85,300 coronavirus cases and 619 deaths,” says the report.

Pandemic will redefine ASEAN’s relations with US and China for years ahead

The scale of the pandemic has been so great that it will redefine the relations of ASEAN countries with the US and China for several years going ahead, argues Takashi Shiraishi, the former head of Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, in an opinion piece for the Nikkei Asian Review.

“With all states in the region — including those identified as U.S. allies — trying to balance the twin goals of national security and economic development, it would be a mistake to believe that the intensifying U.S.-China rivalry will force Indo-Pacific nations to make a choice between Washington or Beijing,” he writes.

These countries rely on US security and Chinese wealth for peace and stability in the region. And going ahead, their balancing strategy between these powers will be defined by several factors.

Pandemic showcases Goldman Sachs CEO’s deftness

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the CEO of the world’s leading investment bank Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, to reorient the company’s working style to be more in sync with its younger employees, reports The New York Times.

“The crisis has shown Mr. Solomon to be a deft navigator who quickly adapted to changes that caught some of his bank’s bigger competitors flat-footed,” notes the report.

“Goldman’s early embrace of working from home helped traders capitalize on surging market activity in the first and second quarters. Their efforts pushed the firm’s stock and bond-trading revenues to recent records, while minimizing disruptions and encouraging worker loyalty. By contrast, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America stumbled initially as they struggled to ready backup sites and, in some cases, created an atmosphere in which trading-floor workers felt pressured to go to the office,” it adds.

What else we are reading:

Cases surge as France goes ‘wrong way’: BBC

Gold’s evolution into a ‘must-have’ asset is storing up trouble: Financial Times

World’s biggest gambling hub reopens for business: BBC

Also read: Boring Joe Biden chooses boring Kamala Harris for VP. But it’s a logical choice