Apologies in advance, but I can’t seem to avoid covid or elections in this roundup. It is up to you if you want to read on.
First a bit of fun covid news:
According to the NME, a nightclub in Germany has been holding ‘drive-in raves’ to circumvent restrictions , which saw around 500 participants.
The first event was hosted in the car park of Club Index in the town of Schüttorf, near Germany’s Dutch border, and was open to 250 cars with a maximum of two occupants each.
Around the world, drive-in performances are being introduced more and more in an effort to circumvent worldwide social distancing restrictions.
Sticking with good Covid news, Pfizer and German-based biotechnology firm BioNTech have announced that, during test trials, a jointly created vaccine appears to be more than 90 percent effective against Covid 19. Now, before you roll your sleeve up there are several hurdles to jump over before it is made available. The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has to be proven, both globally and in the US, before it can be made available to the public. That said, such is the desperation of the world to “get back to normal” the company has applied for emergency use authorization, which fast tracks a drug, and if they gain this it is likely the usual regulatory hoops will be somewhat relaxed.
However, even if the rules are relaxed, this is a tricky vaccine: according to the New York Times it has to be stored at ultra cold temperatures – negative 80 degrees Celsius – Brrrr!
Now, how to segue from Covid to the US election? Let’s try a story from the Mother Jones website- when news of this potential vaccine hit the media, the outgoing Vice President, Mike Pence chalked up Pfizer’s success, to their participation in Operation Warp Speed—the US government’s vaccine development partnership. There is only one problem with that, Pfizer didn’t sign up to the scheme.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla explained why on NBC, “When you get money from someone that always comes with strings. They want to see how we are going to progress, what type of moves you are going to do [make]. They want reports. I didn’t want to have any of that…I wanted to keep Pfizer out of politics…”
Shortly after Pfizer announced its findings and the vice president tried to grab credit for the administration, Trump tried a different approach: Claiming the timing of the announcement was delayed to thwart his re-election bid: a
The @US_FDA and the Democrats didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later – As I’ve said all along!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2020
Sticking with science news, a monkey has been discovered in the remote forests of Myanmar: The Popa langur, named after its home on Mount Popa (Langurs are a group of leaf-eating monkeys found across south east Asia). Sadly it is already critically endangered with numbers down to about 200 individuals, all for the usual reasons – loss of habitat and hunting. Human activity means that species are becoming extinct at a rate that has not been seen since the last global mass-extinction event, and we all know how that ended.
We need to learn more respect for the only home we have, and the other lives that share it with us.
And finally, the people at Collins Dictionary have declared “lockdown” the word of the year. According to the dictionary the definition of “lockdown” is – the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces.
Unsuprisingly there has been a sharp increase in its usage in 2020. According to the BBC, lexicographers registered more than 250,000 usages of “lockdown” in 2020, up from 4,000 in 2019.
A spokesperson for Collins said “It encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people”.
Yes, it encapsulates the shared misery of billions of people. so, if language reflects the world around us, it sums 2020 up nicely.
- Collins Dictionary
- Mother Jones
- New York Times