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  • Writer's pictureAriel Donato

Weekly News Blast | May 15-22

A synopsis of key world events from this past week.

1. Roughly 100 cases of Monkeypox were reported in 12 countries.

Over the course of this past week, 92 Monkeypox cases have been confirmed and 28 suspected cases have arisen. With some of these cases being in the United States, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said he expects more Monkeypox cases to be reported: “I feel like this is a virus we understand, we have vaccines against it, we have treatments against it, and it’s spread very differently.” Although admittedly not as contagious as COVID-19, Jha said preventative measures should and will be taken to prevent further spread. COVID-19 is transmitted by infectious respiratory droplets, and Monkeypox is spread through contact and respiratory droplets, but health experts say extremely close contact is necessary to infect others with Monkeypox.

Regarding a cure for Monkeypox, doctors and experts are still researching and developing a vaccine strictly for Monkeypox, but because it is a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus (the “pox” virus family), some Smallpox vaccines have been proven to prevent Monkeypox as well. Monkeypox symptoms are typically flu-like, but later these symptoms are accompanied by a rash all over the body, including the inside of the mouth, palms, and soles of the feet.

Because not much about solving the Monkeypox mystery is known, Biden expressed his concern when he said, “It is something that everybody should be concerned about.”

2. COVID-19 spreads due to more Omicron subvariants.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that with roughly one-third of the United States population living in medium to high risk areas, reported COVID-19 cases have risen 26 percent from last week. She said, “We’ve always said, put your mask aside when infection rates are low and pick it up again when infection rates are higher.” There are now at least four Omicron subvariants present in the United States alone.

When the Omicron variant was first discovered, doctors and health experts hoped that because the variant is so infectious, society would become “herd immune” once it spread to the masses. However, this was only a theory and it has been reported that antibodies of the Omicron variant don’t protect people from other strains of the virus. Although getting sick doesn’t guarantee permanent immunity, health experts and the CDC are advertising getting vaccinated as a shot at “super immunity.”

3. President Biden says he will intervene in the China-Taiwan conflict if needed.

Taiwan, about 100 miles from the coast of Southeast China, has been a target of the Chinese following Taiwan’s breaking away from China after World War II. With about 2 million active soldiers, China has enough military strength to easily defeat Taiwan’s 169,000 active soldiers. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan has stated that they will implement military techniques proven successful in an effort to defend themselves from a possible Chinese invasion. Experts predict Taiwan would receive aid from western powers, such as the United States, because the U.S. sells arms to Taiwan. Biden affirmed that the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily. He also compared Taiwan to Ukraine, adding that Taiwan cannot simply be taken by force.


Sources & Further Reading

2. COVID-19 spreads due to more Omicron subvariants.

3. President Biden says he will intervene in the China-Taiwan conflict if needed.


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