We woke to the news yesterday, that there is a new strain of Covid coming out of Africa, known as B.1.1.529, and today officially called Omicron. One expert described the variant as “the worst one we’ve seen so far”, with concerns it has the potential to evade immunity.
It’s been reported that it is the most heavily mutated variant since the pandemic started, and is radically different to the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China. Should we be concerned? Well 22 cases were reported as of yesterday, the UK and other countries have stopped travel from some African countries, although it has already been identified beyond Africa, with reported cases in Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel. So perhaps the action isn’t strong enough, if we want to stop this one?
However, in previous Weekend Reads, I’ve shared articles on the whole story of Covid, including the various mutations, and there seems little rhyme or reason why one version takes hold – like Delta did – when others, which are more lethal or contagious, do not.
So I’m taking a wait and see approach. It may be what we have feared all along, because we didn’t get it under control, or it may not be. Regardless, at some point, something like this will happen, especially because we’ve never gotten the message until it’s over everywhere, it’s not over anywhere.
Vaccination rates around the world remain far too low for this outcome not to happen. In the meantime, we are seeing Covid growth in the US again (due to areas with low vaccination rates and vaccine’s waning), and Europe remains the current epicentre. In fact, in Europe, the WHO expects 700,000 more deaths from Covid by March, mainly due to low vaccination rates in many countries.
One European country, which has been held up as an example throughout this crisis – Germany – passed 100,000 deaths this week, and I encourage you to read Lavinia Thanapathy’s article in Channel News Asia titled: Singapore and Germany, two countries and one aim of living normally with COVID-19 (see below under the Covid section). A really well-balanced view from someone who has lived in both countries during the pandemic, and both Singapore and Germany have worked hard to manage it.
One comment Lavinia made: “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s not to get too cocky about any wins. It rarely lasts for long. No one country is acing it.” Spot on.
Another moment of frustration in Germany this week, when the Health Minister, Jens Spahn, warned:Germans will be ‘vaccinated, cured or dead’ after winter. Pretty much sums it up.
It continues to be a frustrating time. How people are responding around the world is confusing, and anger is rising, on both sides of the equation. Yes there are protests everywhere, but patience for the protesters is not strong, as you can see in the Yahoo piece: Anti-Vaxxers Are Plunging Germany Into a COVID Death Spiral.
On we trudge I suppose. We’ve never been able to comprehend the urgent need for global consensus on actions to take, so we’re never going to do what is needed to get it under control. It’s an endemic now, and we will learn to live with it. Frustrating and there is nothing giving me any hope it will be any different moving forward, so we wait it out or get back to life. It’s all we can do.
Friend’s content and mine
Commentary: Singapore and Germany, two countries and one aim of living normally with COVID-19 wonderful article from Lavinia Thanapathy, who has experienced both countries during this pandemic.
Do you want to be Dinosaur or Nomad? And while not written by Kevin Cottam, thrilled that someone who read his book – The Nomadic Mindset: Never Settle… for too Long – honoured him with this great write-up. Grab a copy. Kevin is awesome.
I also released a podcast with my friend Ferenc Nyiro. I thought we’d talk about the struggles of being an artist during a pandemic, but instead, we talked about Getting your mind right. Have a listen if you’ve been struggling. I know I have.
If everyone gave #just10percent of their time, talent, money or voice, we’ll change the world. Can you donate? Make it a regular donation to the World Food Programme. Help us feed people in Phuket or donate to the UN Refugee Program, PowerOf , Kiva.org , Soi Dog Foundation. It’s a time for giving and taking care of each other.
Content to read
And here’s the content I’ve been reading this last week. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read or watch them all. Knowledge is power, and global knowledge is even more powerful.
Ten ways to confront the climate crisis without losing hope – read this if you want to feel hopeful!!
Prince William blames African population pressure for wildlife loss tks Robert Kirubi
Portugal becomes the fourth EU country to stop using coal to generate electricity tks Susanna Hasenoehrl
Climate denial is waning on the right. What’s replacing it might be just as scary tks Susanna Hasenoehrl
End the dolphin grind – please sign!
Time To Panic: Can we save our planet or is it too late? – tks Rohit Bassi
Germans will be ‘vaccinated, cured or dead’ after winter, minister claims tks Lavinia Thanapathy
Business and Technology
Black Friday: largest boycott planned by independent retailers tks Chantal Fernandes
Uber takes its first step into the cannabis market tks Andrew Psarianos
A look at the intimate details Amazon knows about us tks Evelyn Lee
10 epic ideas for producing content tks Andrew Psarianos
Social issues and humanity
Men like Tim Paine reveal how little they know – or care – about what women think tks Phillipa Edwards
Passion, humour, history
Donkey Snuggles Into Guy’s Shoulder Every Time He Plays Guitar – tks Justin Wahlin
Let me know what jumped out at you? Or share with me what you’re reading? I love that!
Uncommon Courage – my new book – is available
You can read the reviews, including a five-star review on ReaderViews, an excellent one on Booklife, and I’m collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.
Come and join the conversation in my new Facebook Group Uncommon Courage.
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