A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
Tracking COVID-19 Vaccines
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Vaccines have changed a lot since the first smallpox inoculations were practiced in China in the 1500s, and maybe as far back as 200 BCE, where scabs were ground up and blow into nostrils. Now pharmaceutical corporations around the world have been racing to develop (and sell) a COVID-19 vaccine faster than their competitors. At the time of this newsletter, there are seven different vaccines on the market with three more nearing approval. The U.S. and China may lead the world in both the number of different vaccines for sale and shots administered, but the approval of these vaccines by foreign governments may be partly driven by the strength of diplomatic ties as well as efficacy, cost, and the ease of storage and delivery. U.S. vaccines have been approved for use in 58 countries, mainly in Europe and the Middle East. Chinese vaccines have been approved in 11 countries, particularly those Latin American countries with which it has strong economic ties.
At the current rate of roughly 6 million shots adminstered a day globally (1.7 million/day in the U.S.), it's estimated that it will take five years for the world to reach 75% innoculation. Increased production of approved vaccines is esstential. Additional vaccines and particularly those which are easier to store and administer, could help. Covid-19 will continue to be a lethal threat. Just based on the impact through June 30, 2020, covid-19 reduced American life expectancy at birth by a year, the biggest drop in 75 years.
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Tensions evident in the recent European Union-China virtual summit reflect the increasing skepticism in Europe toward China and the worries over Ukraine and economic ties as well as human rights and environmental issues.