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The Spill: Immunity Passports

Weekly news you can use.

By:  |  December 8, 2020  |    689 Words

(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

COVID Passports – For Real?

America suffers from a pandemic that has altered the freedoms we are all used to enjoying. Since the onset of COVID-19 nearly one year ago, Americans have been asked to wear masks, stay away from family and friends, and wash hands repeatedly. Now, there’s a new idea about how to keep people safe. It’s based on the vaccine, which has been rushed through production but still isn’t available for the public quite yet.

People who either get the vaccine or can show that they have had COVID and recovered would be given Immunity Passports. The nation of Hungary already requires them for its citizens. Iceland has a similar policy that will begin next week, and they will also allow citizens who have recovered from the virus to ignore wearing face coverings.

The World Health Organization (WHO) cautions against the idea of Immunity Passports. It warned, “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

Will this type of policy come to the United States?. In an article published by The Conversation, a legal professor explained one potential problem with this plan: “Not only could their use violate U.S. disability protections, but they could also enable discrimination and foster a two-tiered society in which many are left behind … their use will create an underclass and a societal rift between those who are immune to COVID-19 and those who are not.”

In a rush for a vaccine, perhaps politicians have not thought much about unintended consequences.

The Balance of Power Comes Down to Georgia

Georgia is in the throes of a run-off election to secure two U.S. Senate seats. Republican Kelly Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock in one race, and Republican Senator David Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff for the second. These two Senate seats could alter the balance of power in the upper chamber of Congress.

Political candidates must receive 50% or more of the vote to be declared the winner in Georgia. If that requirement is not met, state law means the top two finishers have to face off in a special election. Both U.S. Senate seats in Georgia will be decided this election, and both races require a runoff.

The candidates’ debates caused some controversy . In the Ossoff and Perdue debate, the young challenger was forced to debate an empty podium: Senator Perdue didn’t show up.

The media also chastised Kelly Loeffler for not calling presidential candidate Joe Biden the “president-elect.” Technically, Loeffler is correct. Biden is not the president-elect until he is elected by the members of the Electoral College. If Biden does win, that vote won’t happen until December 14 and the official announcement of the winner won’t be until January 6.

An Unexpected Find in the Amazon

In a remote spot of the Amazon jungle, a group of archeologists stumbled upon a cliff wall with decorations believed to be made approximately 12,500 years ago. They call it the Sistine Chapel of the ancients. Over eight miles, tens of thousands of paintings describe a life that seems alien to modern man. There are paintings of ice age animals like the mastodon, ice age horses, giant sloths, and an extinct camelid called palaeolama.

José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University, is a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history. He led the group to the almost inaccessible location near Serranía de la Lindosa. Iriarte describes the breathtaking paintings: “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them.”

Another team member, palaeo-anthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi, described the four-hour trek’s dangers. “We did keep our wits about us with snakes,” she said. She added that a deadly snake – a huge Bushmaster – blocked their travel back to the vehicles.  “You’re in the middle of nowhere,” Al-Shamali said, adding that they would not make it to a hospital if attacked. About 80% of people bitten by this snake die, but she said it was worth the risk to see the paintings.

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