15 May 2021

• The New York Times documents continuing vaccine inequality: worldwide, 18 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered per 100 people, but in Africa, only 1.6 doses per 100 residents have been given. Overall, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt. Ethiopia, and Nigeria- which are home to half a billion people, only 4.3 million doses have been administered. Source

• As it faces a fourth wave of coronavirus, Japan adds Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima to a state of emergency declaration (already in force in Tokyo and five additional prefectures) lasting until the end of May. Source 

• In the US, National Nurses United, the country’s largest union, criticizes the CDC for announcing that fully vaccinated people can go maskless, saying that it will endanger frontline workers, the general public and, especially, people of color. CDC also came under fire from the union for  ceasing to monitoring breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals, only investigating cases that  result in hospitalization or death and asked the agency to update guidance on ventilation and respiratory protection in the workplace. Bonnie Castillo, the union’s Executive Director, said “Now is not the time to relax protective measures, and we are outraged that the C.D.C. has done just that while we are still in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century.”  Source

• In Nepal, where coronavirus is surging, Furtenbach Adventures cancelled its expedition and closed its Mount Everest base camp after four team members tested positive for coronavirus. It is very difficult to help a person “..at high altitude, then develops symptoms and becomes ill,” Mr. Furtenbach said. “We do not take this risk, which is why our expedition is stopped immediately.” A  Nepalese tourism official, Mira Acharya, said that the government has no intention of cancelling expeditions, noting that “Some climbers who cannot climb Everest are now canceling the expeditions in pretext of Covid.” Source

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