Hard Numbers: US sets another COVID record, Europe's vaccine distro timeline, migrants drown off Dunkirk, Melbourne's enduring lockdown

A member of the medical personnel wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) pushes a stretcher outside the CHR Sambre-Meuse hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Auvelais, Belgium October 28, 2020

500,000: The US recorded 500,000 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, the highest 7-day total since the start of the pandemic. At least 20 states recorded their highest ever seven-day averages of new cases during that period. Meanwhile, the Trump administration released a press release Tuesday noting some of its key accomplishments, which included "ending the pandemic."


4: At least four people were found dead in waters of the coastal city of Dunkirk, France, after attempting to cross the English Channel by boat. Despite efforts by French and British authorities, migrants — many of whom sought asylum elsewhere in Europe after fleeing conflict and instability in Yemen, Eritrea, Chad, Sudan, and Iraq — have long used France as a launch pad to reach the UK.

111: After 111 days, Melbourne, Australia, has lifted one of the world's longest lockdowns, paving the way for some 5 million people to reopen businesses, meet in small groups, and dine out. The opening came after the city recorded zero COVID cases on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since June.

50 million: As Europe grapples with a horrifying uptick in COVID-19 cases, Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said Wednesday that, according to the best-case scenario, around 50 million vaccine doses would be delivered to the EU per month starting next spring. On October 23 alone, at least 225,000 EU residents tested positive for COVID-19, the highest daily rate on record.

Over the next decade, Walmart's $350 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing has the potential to:

  • Support more than 750,000 new American jobs.
  • Avoid more than 100M metric tons of CO2 emissions by working with suppliers to shift to U.S. manufacturing.
  • Advance the growth of U.S.-based suppliers.
  • Provide opportunities for more than 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through Walmart's annual Open Call.

A year and a half after millions poured into the streets of Santiago to protest inequality and the vestiges of the Pinochet dictatorship, Chileans voted this weekend to elect the 155 people who will rewrite the country's constitution.

The question now is not whether the people want change — clearly they do — but rather how much change their representatives can agree on. Overall, the new text is widely expected to beef up the role of the state in a country where a strong private sector made Chile one of Latin America's wealthiest yet also most unequal nations.

Here are a few things to bear in mind as the constitutional rewrite process kicks off.

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Will there be a ceasefire in Gaza? Fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas/Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip has now entered its second week. Over the weekend, Israel intensified its bombing of the Gaza Strip, which included targeting a building that houses Al-Jazeera and AP, two foreign media outlets, causing their reporters to hastily flee the premises (Israel has so far not substantiated its claim that Hamas intelligence operatives were working in the building.) At least 42 Gazans were killed in a single Israeli strike Sunday, bringing the Palestinian death toll above 200. Meanwhile, Hamas continued to fire rockets at southern and central Israel, resulting in several casualties. On Monday, for the first time since the violent outbreak, US President Joe Biden voiced support for a ceasefire driven by the Egyptians and others. However, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has said that the operation will "take time," and a truce is off the table until Hamas' military capabilities are significantly degraded. Civilians on both sides continue to suffer.

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Cyber is a tool, and sometimes a weapon. Whether espionage for commercial gain or indiscriminate attacks on critical infrastructure, actions taken in cyber space affect you directly, potentially upending even the most mundane realities of everyday life.

Join GZERO Media and Microsoft for a live conversation on cyber challenges facing governments, companies, and citizens in a Munich Security Conference "Road to Munich" event on Tuesday, May 18.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Happy week to you. I thought we would do a quick take as we often do talk a little bit today about the latest in the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians, still going on. Thousands now of Hamas' rockets raining down on Israel, hundreds of Israeli air sorties, also tanks and artillery hitting Gaza, as well as some violence locally in the West Bank and a fair amount across Israel Proper between Arabs and Israeli Jews living in the country.

I'm pretty optimistic at this point, if you can even use that word, that this is not going to escalate further in the near term. In other words, this doesn't become a ground war. A couple of reasons. First, the Israeli defense forces over the weekend put out a statement showing how much they had already done to degrade Hamas' military capabilities. And historically, they don't do that until they're ready to show success and wrap up their military operations in relatively short order. So that implies a quick pivot, at least to opening negotiations with the Palestinians as to a ceasefire.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. And I thought I'd talk a little bit today about the latest in Israel, Palestine. It's obviously been driving headlines all week. And of course, on social media, there's no topic that we all get along and agree with each other more than Israel, Palestine. It's an easy one to take on. Yeah, I know I'm completely full of crap on that. But I thought I would give you some sense of what I think is actually happening where we're going. So first point, massive fight, big conflict between Hamas in Gaza and the Israeli defense forces. Not only that, but also more violence and a lot of violence breaking out between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. Extremists on both sides taking to the streets and fairly indiscriminate violence, in this case, worst since 2014.

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150,000: A deadly cyclone is set to make landfall in COVID-stricken India and has already prompted the evacuation of 150,000 people along the coast of Gujarat, India's third largest state. Dozens of people have already been killed there due to high winds and heavy rain.
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What happens to US defense systems in case of a cyber attack? "The American military needs a Plan B, because these exquisite systems upon which we have come to rely so deeply, because they were invulnerable fighting the Taliban, or fighting Al-Qaeda, they're not invulnerable anymore," argues Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), who also served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander. He discusses the benefit of having analog alternatives for US military operations in a discussion with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: What could spark a US-China war?

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Beyond SolarWinds: Securing Cyberspace. Watch on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 10am PT/ 1pm ET

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Beyond SolarWinds: Securing Cyberspace | Watch on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 10am PT / 1 pm PT

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal