IT HAS BECOME clear in the past week that covid-19, the new viral disease that struck China at the start of December, will spread around the world. Financial markets have woken up to that with a jolt; hard lessons are being learned about China-only supply chains. Health authorities will have to start preparing people, even though much about the virus is unknown. The outcomes for health and the world economy depend on what governments choose to do, as China’s response shows—including a draconian quarantine in Hubei province, and high-tech surveillance. Our cover leader (outside North America) argues that China’s experience holds three lessons for other countries. Talk to the public, and do so early. Take measures to slow the spread of the disease, flattening the spike in the epidemic. And prepare health systems for what is to come. China has bought other governments time. They should use it.
Our North American cover describes a political nightmare that is increasingly likely to become reality: that the Democratic Party nominates Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, to challenge Donald Trump for the American presidency. The election would pitch a corrupt, divisive, right-wing populist against a sanctimonious, divisive, left-wing populist. It is hard to think of a worse choice. Mr Sanders’s proposals are in some ways more radical than Jeremy Corbyn’s—which British voters rejected in December. We estimate that they imply additional annual deficits of $2.8trn a year, or 13% of current GDP. However, there are two hurdles in his path: the contest against Mr Trump, and gaining control of Congress. And even if he clears the former, the latter looks formidable. President Sanders’s plans would be gleefully thwarted by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. If his political revolution takes Mr Sanders inside the White House, it is likely to stop there.
Post-Brexit Britain, says Boris Johnson, will spend a lot more on science: the prime minister has promised to more than double annual research and development (R&D) spending by 2024-25, and more may be on the way. Britain ranks below other rich countries in R&D spending, concentrating its efforts on pure rather than applied research. That may shift; and areas outside the “golden triangle” of Cambridge, Oxford and London may be favoured (the government also promises to “level up” regions far from the capital). Although researchers can expect a post-Brexit bonanza, farmers fear the opposite. Two-thirds of their income comes from subsidies under the EU’s common agricultural policy. They were told this week that direct payments will be cut and subsidies will shift to “environmental land management”. Future trade deals (eg, with America) may also lead to cheaper imports. That will sting. Yet most farmers are thought to have voted Leave in the 2016 referendum.
Belatedly, Germany is waking up to the threat from far-right terrorism. A run of recent incidents has left nerves especially jangled. In the latest, in Hanau, near Frankfurt, on February 19th, Thomas Rathjen shot dead nine immigrants and ethnic-minority Germans before killing his mother and himself. German ministers now acknowledge that far-right terrorism is Germany’s gravest security threat. Officials estimate that the country has more than 32,000 right-wing extremists, of whom more than 1,000 are ready for violence. Researchers at the University of Oslo calculate that between 2016 and 2018 the number of severely violent incidents perpetrated by the far-right in Germany far outstripped those in other European countries.
Guyana has the world’s third-highest suicide rate and the highest rate of maternal mortality in South America. Two-fifths of Guyanese live on less than $5.50 a day. Yet South America’s third-poorest country also has vast oil reserves—more, per person, than Qatar or Saudi Arabia. The oil has started to flow, and the economy is about to be transformed: the IMF expects it to grow by 85% this year and by 2024 income per person could rise from $5,000 to $19,000, nearly the same as in Poland. That makes the stakes in the general election on March 2nd especially high. Voting is likely to follow ethnic lines, as usual, with Afro-Guyanese backing the governing coalition and Indo-Guyanese the opposition People’s Progressive Party. Racially charged politics may prevent the creation of a much-needed national consensus on how to manage the new riches—but parties representing mixed-race and indigenous people hope to hold the balance.
- Public health expert warns virus not going away – KSAT San Antonio
- Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont car plant despite coronavirus health orders – CNBC
- Major health groups and charities urge Trump to reverse World Health Organization funding decision – CNN
- Public health officials push back on May opening | TheHill – The Hill
- Analysis | The Health 202: Los Angeles is racing to discover the true coronavirus infection rate – The Washington Post
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso