2021-02-24 11:24:40 | No ‘Covid Zero,’ but Normalcy

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Story by: David Leonhardt The New York Times World News

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Covid is caused by a coronavirus — known as SARS-CoV-2 — and coronaviruses often circulate for years, causing respiratory infections and the common cold. The world is not going to extinguish coronaviruses anytime soon, nor will it extinguish this specific one. “The coronavirus is here to stay,” as a recent article in the science journal Nature, by Nicky Phillips, concluded.

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The reasonable goal is to make it manageable, much like the seasonal flu. Fortunately, the vaccines are doing that. In fact, they’re doing better than that. For fully vaccinated people, serious illness from Covid is extremely rare, much rarer than serious illness from the seasonal flu.

Israel, the country that has vaccinated the largest share of its population, offers a case study. One recent analysis looked at 602,000 Israelis who had received Covid vaccines and found that only 21 later contracted the virus and had to be hospitalized. Twenty-one is obviously not zero. Vaccines are almost never perfect. But the Covid vaccines are turning it into the sort of risk that people accept every day.

Here’s a useful way to think about Israel’s numbers: Only 3.5 out of every 100,000 people vaccinated there were later hospitalized with Covid symptoms. During a typical flu season in the U.S., by comparison, roughly 150 out of every 100,000 people are hospitalized with flu symptoms.

And yet the seasonal flu does not grind life to a halt. It does not keep people from flying on airplanes, eating in restaurants, visiting their friends or going to school and work.

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“A growing number of the biggest pop stars in the world are from outside the traditional capitals of the continental U.S. and U.K.,” Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg writes. According to Bloomberg’s most recent Pop Star Power rankings — based on album sales, digital streams, YouTube views and more — five of the 25 biggest current pop stars are from Puerto Rico. Another seven are from Colombia, India or South Korea. YouTube is another place where English-speaking acts are losing their dominance, as Tim Ingham writes in Rolling Stone.

In part, the trend reflects the global popularity of Latin music like reggaeton and of Korean music, notably K-pop. The band BTS, for example, held a two-day online concert event in October that sold nearly a million tickets across almost 200 countries, Variety reported.

The trend also reflects the growth of the world’s consumer markets, like India’s. When we checked the YouTube ranking yesterday, six of the top 10 artists on YouTube’s global charts were from India; the others were from Puerto Rico, Colombia or South Korea.

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Source References: The New York Times World News

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