As the world's richest nations struggle with vaccine rollout, a more daunting question looms: When will the world's poorest nations get the COVID-19 vaccine? Of course, some vaccines have already reached the developing world, but World Bank President David Malpass says it may not be until the second half of 2021, or even well into 2022, that distribution becomes widespread. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of an upcoming episode of GZERO World, airing on public television nationwide beginning this Friday, January 15th. Check local listings.
Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:
Why is the UK going on lockdown again?
I know. And it looks like six weeks to, this is the highest level of lockdown they do. And it's this new strain of coronavirus, which it's not more lethal, but it is much more infectious. And thank God all of the vaccines work equally well against it. But nonetheless, the vaccines are still very early stages in rolling out and coronavirus is a very robust stages of rolling out. So, you were getting greater levels of hospitalization right now in the UK than in their spring peak. The case levels were exploding and so they just shut it down. Germany is extending their lockdown and here in New York City, I just heard yesterday, we've got the first confirmed cases of the new strain. This is, it's not a game changer because the vaccines are the game changer and the vaccines are rolling out and as they do, we're going to feel very, very differently, but it does mean that explosive caseload and more hospitalizations, and indeed more people dying in the coming weeks is something we're going to have to gird ourselves for. But I still think, when you looked at our top risk piece this year, we didn't make coronavirus, the number one risk and it's because of the vaccines. Also, in the nature of this disease that really does focus so much of the mortality is in a very small percentage of the population, the most elderly and the most sick. And so, in just a few weeks, four, six weeks, when we get to 10% of the population in the US that's been vaccinated, suddenly you're going to have probably some 90% of the mortality taken out of the disease. You still have concerns about long COVID, you still have people that can be sick for a long time. But just think psychologically about how much we've all been carrying about just been worrying, the worry we've had of the people that we are close to who are in their high seventies or older, or already have medical conditions and we know that if they are to get this disease, they could very easily die. That is something we're not going to have to worry about in just a few more weeks. I think that's the game changer for 2021, frankly. That's a really good news story, so something that's worth mentioning.
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What We're Watching: Argentina's abortion bill, Spain's vaccine registry, Burkina Faso's security push
Argentina's abortion debate: Argentina's Senate is set to vote on a landmark abortion bill that would allow elective abortions up to 14 weeks gestation, a major shift in the predominantly Catholic and socially conservative country. The abortion bill already passed the lower house of Congress (131 to 117 votes) because the center-left party of President Alberto Fernández, who backs the bill, holds a majority coalition. It's now waiting to be voted on in Argentina's upper house in what's expected to be a nail-biter, with several politicians remaining mum about how they intend to vote. Abortion is a flashpoint in Argentina, home to Pope Francis who has repudiated the bill, and if the law were to pass, the country would be one of just few Latin American countries to authorize elective abortions outside of cases of rape or if the mother's life is at risk. If there's a tie in the Senate — which some analysts anticipate — it will be up to Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who has flip-flopped on the abortion issue during her long political career, to cast the deciding vote. Abortion rights activists, meanwhile, are fired up, hoping that if the bill passes in Argentina, the cultural effects could reverberate throughout the region.
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Hi, everybody. It's Christmas week. God, we need it. Great to see you and a little quick take to kick us off this last full week of 2020, getting through on fumes this most, most challenging year. First, obviously happy to finally see a deal come through almost a trillion dollars in relief that is desperately needed in the United States. People complaining that $600 checks aren't going to do very much. And I agree, it's kind of pathetic, especially in the context of what other advanced industrial democracies have been doing for their working populations around the world, but it's better than zero, which is where we were.
Without the help of the US government initiative "Operation Warp Speed," Moderna co-founder Noubar Afeyan says that it would have been impossible for the company to develop and deliver its vaccine so quickly. The fact, he says, that the American people may be days away from receiving its first doses is, in large part, thanks to their taxpayer dollars. Does President Trump, himself, deserve credit? "Without caveat," Afeyan says. He spoke with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.
Watch the GZERO World episode: A Shot in the Arm: Moderna's Co-Founder on the COVID-19 Vaccine