Another week gone by, and more news has been pumped out than can possibly be processed. Let us take care of digesting the overwhelming news cycle into a bite-sized and non-existential dread provoking dose of much needed catch-up.
With the beginning of the end (of COVID-19, most of our other miseries are still in place) reports of severe allergic reactions to Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine have emerged. After Britain began its nation-wide inoculation effort, British authorities have issued warnings that anyone with a history of anaphylactic reaction to medicine, food or vaccines should not be administered the vaccine. Given the nature of the vaccine rollout, regulators and authorities are closely monitoring how this complication develops and emphasizing this is a reality of a novel vaccine and of the nature of the process in general.
Minister of Health Hugo de Jong announced that if plans go accordingly, the Netherlands aims to inoculate 12 million residents by July the 1st. With its hands in multiple cookie jars, the Netherland is ordering vaccines from Pfizer, Modern, AstraZeneca and three other companies - licenses pending for the latter unnamed companies.
A commonwealth country became the second Western nation to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine this week. Health Canada approved the vaccine and managed to lock Pfizer in for an astounded 76 million doses, for its population of 38 million. Finally, in the U.S, late into the day on the 11th the FDA granted Pfizer-BioNTech their relatively delayed approval.
Weak European economies can now breathe a sigh of relief after, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, announced on Thursday that the Union had reached a budgetary agreement to mobilize €1.8 trillion funds for recovery aid. Hungary and Poland finally relented after holding the budget hostage in part due to the rule-of-law conditioning the proposed budget placed on Member States. The two nations eased their positions after confirmation that the rule-of-law mechanism tied to dispersion of the funds would be subject to an ECJ ruling.
Shifting gears to Latin America: a much-lauded victory was secured in Buenos Aires this week after the lower chamber of congress adopted a bill in favour of legalizing abortion. The bill is seen as a key issue of President Alberto Fernandez’s government and was submitted to congress amidst a crushing recession faced by the country. If the bill survives the Senate, Argentina is poised to become the fourth, and the most populous country in Latin America, to legalize abortion. Understandably, the streets of Buenos Aires (and around the country) have erupted in a very envious celebration. Minister of Women and Gender Diversity Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta echoed that despite the country being in one of the deepest financial recessions, minority rights remained at the forefront of congress’ priorities. Congrats to the lower house on making a painfully obvious decision, and good luck to members of the senate on not screwing this up!
Elsewhere, in a complete and total surprise to absolutely no one, Rudy Giuliani, the recurring star of my worst nightmares, and daytime henchman to Trump’s efforts to delegitimize democracy, has gone from leaking inexplicably from his head (???), holding press conferences at parking lots of adjacently prestigiously named landscaping businesses, to testing positive for COVID-19. While Trump’s team of incompetent buffoons struggles to properly organize press conferences, somehow arranging for Rudy to receive state of the art treatment for COVID is not a problem. He received an experimental monoclonal antibody cocktail, which few citizens would actually dream of having access to and was certainly not ubiquitously available to any of the almost 300K people that have died. His mild symptoms and aggressive treatment means he’s free to terrorize the public and return to his post of litigating as a hack.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief, Happy Sunday and best of luck for exams to everyone!