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What We Learned From COVID | Anne-Marie Slaughter & Stephen Walt | GZERO World

What we learned from COVID

What lessons did we learn from the pandemic that still apply now with the war in Ukraine?

Unlike the war or the 2008 global financial crisis, COVID was not an immediate threat we needed to respond to in real time, says former US State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, so different countries were affected in different ways, and responded their own way at different times.

"If you're going to use a crisis effectively for change, you have to be able to have the right time horizon, the right group of countries, and a very specific set of goals," she tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Shen goes down to the courtyard of her residential complex at dawn to swipe cherries from the trees in the garden to make bread and jams.

Yang Shen

Birdsong and stolen cherries: Lockdown life in Shanghai

Yang Shen has lived in Shanghai for more than 10 years, but it wasn’t until recently that the 36-year-old writer noticed something very particular about the city: the birds.

While they sing freely outside Shen’s window, Shanghai’s 26 million human residents are still cooped up in their homes, part of the world’s largest COVID lockdown.

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Don’t Expect Us Gun Reform: Americans Tolerate Gun Violence | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Don't expect US gun reform: Americans tolerate gun violence

Will the Buffalo shooting finally lead to gun reform in the United States? Is North Korea on the brink of a COVID-19 catastrophe? What is "The Power of Crisis"? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Will the Buffalo shooting finally lead to gun reform in the United States?

Absolutely not. Yeah, white supremacist uses a Bushmaster and puts out a manifesto that talks about how excited he is about all these guns, crazy lunatic, and going to be in jail for the rest of his life. For me, the one that got closest to maybe you get gun reform was the Newtown shooting in Connecticut. That was one that, really hit close to middle America, American elites and moved the needle in Washington for a bit, but still within a few months was pretty clear it wasn't going to happen. I think that the Americans, it's not that they've given up on gun reform, but that it just feels like something that Americans are prepared to tolerate. And also it's just not considered a top priority issue in terms of a threat to the average American that hits their top two, top three, top five. And so, as a consequence to me, it feels a little bit like the crack cocaine issue back in the eighties and the nineties. Horrible human tragedy, largely performative response, thoughts and prayers, but doesn't really force anyone to get out of their comfort zone and it's still politicized. Horrible thing.

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The Crisis We Need | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer: power of the "Goldilocks crisis"

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. I have a Quick Take to kick off your week. And this week, you know what's coming. It's my new book. It's called The Power of Crisis. It is right here and it's coming out tomorrow. I certainly hope you'll get a copy.

But I thought I'd tease you with some of the big arguments that I'm trying to make in this book, because it's no surprise, this is a target rich environment for global crises. We've gotten through this two plus year pandemic. Now, it's still a huge problem in China and North Korea. We've got a new Cold War with the Russians, the invasion of Ukraine and confrontation with NATO. We've got climate change and over a billion Indians suffering massive heat stress, and that's only going to get worse going forward.

We also have disruptive technologies, which are increasingly hard to contain and in the hands of rogue states and even non-state actors, and what are we going to do about that? This is a book that is not saying the wheels are coming off. It's not saying the sky is falling, but rather it's saying, how do we take advantage of these crises to deal with a world that has become more anxiety inducing? And indeed made a lot of people feel like we're stuck, and the outcomes are inevitable and governments are never going to work.

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Chinese medical workers in protective suits wave at residents during a farewell ceremony in Changchun.

China Daily via REUTERS

China is in a tough spot

This week, the head of the World Health Organization warned that China’s “zero-COVID” policy, which has left tens of millions of people locked inside their homes, is not “sustainable.” The Omicron variant is too transmissible to effectively isolate, and the cost of China’s lockdown strategy, for the country’s economy and the mental health of its people, is too high, warns the WHO.

But … also this week, a report from the peer-reviewed international scientific journal Nature Medicine warned that lifting the zero-COVID policy without taking a series of specific steps to mitigate the damage could create a COVID emergency on a scale the world hasn’t yet seen. More than 1.5 million would die within six months, according to the study, and demand for intensive care would be nearly 16 times greater than China’s hospitals can handle.

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COVID & War Highlight Need To Get More People Online | Vickie Robinson | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Want global equality? Get more people online

We think we live in a digital-first world — but there's no "digital" at all for 37% of the global population.

That's a big problem in today's economy, where you'll miss out on many opportunities for advancement if you're not connected. The digital divide is thus widening the equality gap.

Being offline "places an automatic limit on your ability to be productive and has major ramifications for our society," says Vickie Robinson, head of Microsoft's Airband Initiative to expand broadband access throughout the developing world.

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US Ends Federal Mask Mandate; Biden Unlikely to Appeal | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

US ends federal mask mandate; COVID protection is personal responsibility

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the end of federal mask mandates:

What are the implications of the end of the federal mask mandate?

A federal judge in Florida this week ruled that President Biden's order requiring masks, facial coverings on federally regulated forms of transportation, including planes, buses, and trains is unlawful and should not be enforced. The mask mandate was the most visible and impactful mandate handed down by President Biden, who campaigned in 2020 on doing more than his predecessor, Donald Trump to stop the spread of the virus, but was really limited by the limited authorities the federal government has to take drastic measures to control public safety, most of which are controlled by the states. This is the latest setback to Biden's pandemic policies. Earlier this year, a federal judge said that he did not have the ability to impose a vaccine mandate for large employers. And at this point, Biden lacks both the policy tools and the political standing to do much else.

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Volunteers in protective suits prepare to disinfect a residential compound in Shanghai.

REUTERS

That April night, they died in Shanghai

Since Shanghai's 26 million residents started a grueling lockdown on March 28, I have been checking social media more often. On April 13, I opened Weibo, aka China’s Twitter, and browsed to see what was happening in Shanghai, and I came across a piece of news that was going viral.

A Chinese health official named Wenxiong Qian had killed himself in his office.

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