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“Health is a human right”: How the world can make up progress lost to COVID
“Health is a human right”: Can we make up progress lost to COVID? | Global Stage | GZERO Media

“Health is a human right”: How the world can make up progress lost to COVID

The state of public health in the developing world bears some deep scars from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past three years, immunization rates have dropped to levels not seen in three decades. 2 billion people are facing "catastrophic or impoverishing" health spending worldwide according to the World Health Organization. And governments in the Global South are taking on more and more debt at the expense of investment in health and social services.

Kate Dodson, the Vice President of Global Health Strategy at the UN Foundation, is on the frontlines of the fight to give the most vulnerable people in the world access to proper healthcare. She works to connect experts and innovators with the UN, and find resources to support their work.

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Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro leaves his home following a search operation in Brasilia.

REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Bolsonaro’s home raided over alleged COVID vax fraud

Brazilian cops on Wednesday raided the home of former President Jair Bolsonaro as part of a probe into falsified COVID vaccine records.
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Ari Winkleman

What’s next for the WHO?

As the World Health Organization celebrates its 75th anniversary on April 7, it is preparing to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind it by declaring an end to the public health emergency sometime later this year. Yet it won’t be easy for the UN agency to rehabilitate its reputation after the criticism received for its handling of the world’s worst health crisis in 100 years.

We asked Eurasia Group public health expert Laura Yasaitis to provide some perspective on the WHO’s long history and where it goes after COVID.

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An elderly woman walks past a poster encouraging seniors to get vaccinated against COVID in Beijing.

REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

What We’re Watching: Beijing vax mandate, DRC-Rwanda tensions

Beijing gets China's first COVID vax mandate

Somewhat late to the party compared to many parts of the world, China introduced on Wednesday its first COVID vaccine mandate in Beijing. Starting next week, residents of the capital will need to show proof of vax to enter most public spaces as authorities scramble to contain a new outbreak of a more infectious omicron subvariant. Oddly enough for an authoritarian state, China shunned mandates early in the pandemic because most people agreed to get vaxxed on their own, which helped keep the virus under control until late 2021. While nearly 90% of the population is fully vaccinated, inoculation rates among the elderly — those most vulnerable to becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID — are lower because many older Chinese adults are wary of getting jabs. What's more, China's vaccines are not as effective as Western mRNA jabs against new variants, so perhaps the goal of Beijing's mandate is to keep the unvaccinated elderly at home without implementing a citywide lockdown like in Shanghai. How will this affect Xi Jinping's zero-COVID policy? If major outbreaks are reported, expect other big Chinese cities to follow Beijing's lead.

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Podcast: How we overcome infectious disease with a public health renaissance


Listen: Former CDC chief Tom Frieden says he's stunned by how infectious COVID is compared to other diseases. The pandemic isn't over yet, he tells Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast, thanks to long COVID plus the fact that we can't predict how the virus will play out in the future. Frieden's advice for everyone is to get vaxxed and boosted, to "keep yourself out of the hospital and, quite frankly, out of the morgue," since new variants could emerge, making the virus more deadly.

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Ian Bremmer: Zero COVID no longer works, and China will pay a price
Ian Bremmer: Zero COVID No Longer Works, and China Will Pay a Price | Top Risks 2022 | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer: Zero COVID no longer works, and China will pay a price

For Ian Bremmer, China has the strongest political governance of any major economy today. Sometime that's good, and has allowed China to become the world's second largest economy.

But there's also a downside we're going to see this year, Bremmer said during a livestream conversation to launch Eurasia Group's annual Top Risks report. China's zero-COVID policy, which worked incredibly well in 2020 to respond to the pandemic, no longer works because the virus has changed.

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A cow, a prostitute, a nose ring: The best vax incentives of 2021

If you were a little hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine, what would it take to change your mind? Cash? Free beer? Tickets to the big game? Doughnuts? A car? A lifetime fishing license? Or is all of that too tame to get you to roll up your sleeve?

Throughout 2021, governments and companies around the world tried all kinds of crazy incentives to get people jabbed. Here are five that we loved — one of which is made up. Can you spot the fake?

Bakas for Vaccines. In the Philippine town of San Luis, the vaccinated are entered in a monthly raffle to win a cow (a “Baka” in Tagalog), delivered to the winner’s door by the mayor himself. Each jab counts as an entry, so the double-vaxxed have twice as big a shot at winning. Still, despite this bovine bonus, the Philippines has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Southeast Asia, at just 44 percent.

Nose ring and a hand-blender anyone? Goldsmiths in the Indian city of Rajkot, in the state of Gujarat, banded together to open a vaccination site that offered free gold nose pins for women who get the jab. The prize for men was a free hand blender! Among the most populous Indian states, Gujarat has the second highest rate of full vaccination, at 86 percent.

Joints for jabs. Back in June, the US state of Washington offered free, pre-rolled marijuana joints to anyone 21 and older who could prove they’d received at least one jab. Washington was the first US state to legalize cannabis, back in 2012, and it ranks an impressive tenth overall in vaccination rates in the US, with 68 percent. But they could surely roll up some more spliffs to get that number even higher.

Rum punches COVID in the face. The Galleon rum distillery in Curaçao is giving out free shots of their stuff to anyone who gets the jab — but that’s just an aperitif. Everyone also enters a raffle where the grand prize is to snorkel for 15 minutes through a gigantic vat that’s filled with Galleon rum and outfitted with an LED-lit “shipwreck” — a replica of one of the famous, treasure-laden galleons that sunk off the nearby Venezuelan coast in the 17th century, giving the distillery its name. If you can survive that, then COVID doesn’t stand a chance — vaxxed or not.

Coitus against COVID. A Viennese brothel is using the world’s oldest profession to encourage uptake of the world’s newest vaccine. The women of Fun Palast (Fun Palace) offer a free 30-minute fling to anyone who gets vaccinated on site. Carnal encouragements notwithstanding, Austria still has one of Western Europe’s lowest vaccination rates.

Subscribers to our daily newsletter,Signal,learnedthe bogus one, as did our Instagram followers. Swipe through here to see if you correctly identified the fake!

Podcast: COVID Vaccine in Record Time - What Now? Moderna Co-Founder Noubar Afeyan


Listen: The pandemic's US death toll shows no signs of abating and the holiday season's spike will likely dwarf any surge that came before it. But in the midst of this dark winter there are glimmers of hope, as the first of the COVID-19 vaccines have nearly arrived (or, depending on when you read this, already have). On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer interviews Noubar Afeyan, the co-founder of a leading vaccine developer Moderna. They'll discuss distribution plans, the revolutionary science behind Moderna's vaccine, and how a company younger than Twitter became a frontrunner in the race to end the pandemic.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

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