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Trump rally attendees can’t sue if they catch virus, sex during pandemic & 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 75,99,647 cases and more than 4,23,887 deaths.

US President Donald Trump’s campaign team is telling the attendees of an upcoming election rally that they can’t sue the president if they catch Covid-19 at the event. Stock market investors across the world are beginning to get real about the pandemic’s economic fallout. France could be staring at an economic disaster and, globally, it might be devastating to keep schools closed indefinitely.

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

Trump rally attendees cannot sue if they catch Covid

After being criticised for organising a political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma without any social distancing norms on 19 June, US President Donald Trump’s campaign team is now asking the attendees not to sue them if they catch Covid-19 while attending the event, reports The New York Times.

According to the report, “‘By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to Covid-19 exists in any public place where people are present,’ a statement on Mr. Trump’s campaign website informed those wishing to attend his June 19 rally in Tulsa, Okla.”

“By attending the rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors or volunteers liable for any illness or injury,” adds the disclaimer on Trump’s website.

Global markets react as investors get real about the pandemic  

In a break from the spurious bull markets across the world, markets underwent a substantial correction Thursday as investors feared the possibility of a second coronavirus outbreak, reports the BBC.

“In the US, the three main share indexes saw their worst day in weeks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down almost 7%. Stock markets in Asia also fell on Friday with benchmark indexes losing ground in Japan, Hong Kong and China. The falls followed a weeks-long rally that had helped shares recover some ground from the lows seen in March,” notes the report.

Talking about Wall Street, a report in The New York Times remarks, “After a frenzied, almost unstoppable three-month climb that seemed to defy both gravity and logic, the stock market plunged on Thursday, as investors decided they could no longer go on behaving as if the American economy had already recovered from the pandemic.”

Is the US heading towards a second wave of coronavirus infections?

As US states continue to reopen, nearly 21 out of the 50 states are reporting a surge in the number of coronavirus infections. A panel of experts assembled by The Guardian discussed whether the US was moving towards a second wave of coronavirus infections.

“I think of a second wave as a true recurrence of widespread community transmission. When [places] reopen, you’re going to get some increased transmission, but I don’t think increased transmission alone is a second wave,” remarked David Rubin of University of Pennsylvania.

“There’s a lot happening in the US. Because it’s summer, people are going out, and then you have the protests and all types of gatherings are happening. It looks like there’s a very good chance that most states are going to see a second wave,” said Elaine Nsoesie of Boston University. 

Emmanuel Macron is facing an economic disaster

The costs of the coronavirus pandemic for the French economy might be much greater than most are acknowledging, which could potentially mean an electoral disaster for President Emmanuel Macron, reports The Spectator.

The country would soon have the third highest debt level in the Eurozone — behind only Italy and Greece, a massive budget deficit, raging unemployment, and an overall GDP contraction of 11 to 14 per cent this year.

“The impact on the popularity of President Macron and his government will be serious. Already at rock bottom before the crisis as a result of the yellow vest movement and national strikes, Macron did not benefit from the ‘rally round the flag’ seen in other countries and his approval rating has never climbed above a low 40 per cent,” notes the report.

“With the 2022 presidential elections looming, Macron’s widespread liberal reform programme is on hold and many are turning to radical solutions,” it adds.

Egypt’s deal with IMF and pandemic’s economic fallout

The Egyptian government has managed to reach a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a standby loan of $5.2 billion. An opinion piece by Amr Adly, assistant professor at the American University in Cairo, in Bloomberg looks at how the government should use this money to mitigate the social impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The significance of the new standby agreement is best understood in the context of the 2016 deal. Back then, the IMF’s intervention was crucial to stabilize Egypt’s economy, which was facing major financial imbalances in the wake of the turmoil that hit the country after the political upheaval of 2011-13,” notes the piece.

Between 2016 and 2019 the Egyptian economy gradually recovered, helped rebuild foreign exchange reserves, and addressed its balance of payments issues. Now, the pandemic has reversed some of the economic gains, and the new agreement with IMF would help mitigate that.

However, there is still a lack of focus when it comes to social impact of the pandemic, and the government needs to spend more money on public health and food subsidies, argues Adly.

WHO’s recent controversy on community transmission

The World Health Organization has received a lot of public criticism for its statements on asymptomatic patients and transmission of Covid-19. A report in the New Yorker looks at how this scientific debate started and WHO not only managed to get it wrong, but it also struggled to communicate clearly.

On 8 June, Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of Covid-19 in WHO, said that community transmission due to asymptomatic patients was “very rare”, sparking a controversy. Later, WHO clarified that “it’s clear that both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals are part of the transmission cycle,” calling Kerkhove’s statement a “misunderstanding”

“It can be painful for the W.H.O.’s supporters to make such criticisms, given that the organization and the approach to collaborative global problem-solving that it represents, is under attack from President Trump, who decries it as a tool of China and threatens to withdraw financial support. But the W.H.O. needs to be held accountable by those who recognize its value; trust is an asset that has to be guarded,” concludes the report.

The dreadful costs of keeping schools closed

In an opinion piece for the Financial Times, economist Tim Harford argues that closing down schools and sacrificing children’s education is not sustainable over the long run.

“[Keeping classrooms closed] is damaging for the careers of many parents — mothers especially, I suspect. It is hard to see an economy bounce back when so many people’s jobs depend on their children being safely supervised at school. As for the pupils themselves, we have evidence from numerous school strikes around the world that children’s education suffers when their schooling is interrupted,” he writes.

Harford also talks about a study conducted by researchers at Centre for Global Development that looked at 20 countries where schools have been reopened, and they found weak evidence of pandemic worsening because of it.

Dating and sex guidelines for the pandemic era  

New York City public health officials have come up with tips for dating and sex in the pandemic era, reports the New York Times.

“The new guidelines still say ‘you are your safest sex partner,’ and that the ‘next safest partner’ is someone in your household. However, the guidance also acknowledges that not everyone has access to an exclusive sex partner at home. People who are dating or ‘hooking up’ should still try to minimize close contacts. Safer sex during Covid-19 also means wearing a mask and avoiding kissing. ‘Heavy breathing and panting can spread the virus further,’ it says,” notes the report.

The fact sheet also asks people to avoid group sex and adopt non-traditional forms of sex such as sex toys.

What else we are reading:

America is losing the stomach to fight Covid-19: Financial Times

Our coal-free months aren’t as impressive as they seem: The Spectator

Lebanon’s Currency Plunges, and Protesters Surge Into Streets: The New York Times  

Street solos and a flock of swans: the best new dance created in lockdown: The Guardian

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