Your Monday Briefing - The New York Times

Who will have access to Merck’s new antiviral pill? Molnupiravir, an antiviral drug manufactured by Merck, could herald the not-so-dist...

Molnupiravir, an antiviral drug manufactured by Merck, could herald the not-so-distant future when a simple pill could keep people infected with the coronavirus to die or become seriously ill. The medicine is easy to distribute and can be taken at home. The results of the trials showed that it halved the risk of hospitalization and death in people at high risk at the onset of their infections.

Unlike the makers of some Covid vaccines, Merck will allow generic manufacturers in India to sell the pills for a much lower price in more than 100 poorer countries. Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where immunization rates are as low as 3%, are covered by the agreement. The company has also applied for emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Access to medicines advocates say Merck’s licensing deal is an encouraging start, but it’s just a small step towards fairness. It’s unclear how much of the generic will be available next year, and the deals leave out many under-vaccinated countries, like Ukraine, which have been hit hard by Covid.

Competitors: Several other drugmakers, including Pfizer, are set to announce efficacy data from trials of their own Covid drugs; the companies said it was too early to comment on entering into similar access agreements.

Quote: “It is fair to say that this drug could prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and deaths,” said John Amuasi, an infectious disease expert at the Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine in Kumasi in Ghana. “But the barrier will be the price.”

U.S. lawmakers debate priorities reduce President Biden’s initial proposal spend $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years on social and economic programs and tax cuts. The bill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make child care more affordable, expand access to college, and lower prescription drug prices, among other priorities.

The smallest bill under discussion could increase the total amount of public spending on all programs by about 1.5% to 2.5% over the next decade. Biden intends to pay for the proposals with a series of tax increases on businesses and the wealthy, while reducing government spending on prescription drugs for older Americans.

In order for the proposal to get through to a number that can be passed by the House and Senate depending on the party, hundreds of billions of dollars will likely have to be reduced from the final price of the bill. A key climate proposal, which would replace coal and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear power, is likely to be abandoned because of objections from Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Coal State Senator.

Consequences: Many Democrats fear the United States could afford to wait to tackle child poverty, climate change or the gender pay gap. In their view, failing to invest in these issues means the country risks incurring painful costs that will slow economic growth.

Climate change: As the West Virginia senator thwarts Democratic push to reduce warming, new data shows the the state is more exposed to worsening flooding than anywhere else in the country.

The fall of sebastian kurz, Austria’s former political prodigy and, until October 9, its chancellor, shed light on the intimate, sometimes corrupt, relations between right-wing populists and parts of the media.

In May 2017, polls in Austria showed an extraordinary turning point for the country’s conservative party, which has long languished behind rivals. Five months later, with a newfound credibility that helped the party convince voters that it had a real chance of winning, that is exactly what it has done.

Prosecutors now say that many polls leading up to this election were falsified and that Kurz and some of his allies paid one of Austria’s biggest tabloids to ensure favorable media coverage. Once in power, prosecutors say, he institutionalized the system, using taxpayer dollars to enhance the appearance of his own popularity and punish media that criticized him.

Quote: “What voters saw was not real,” said Helmut Brandstätter, a former newspaper editor turned lawmaker who was bullied by Kurz and forced to quit his job. “It was a ploy to influence the elections and undermine democracy. “

Reply: Kurz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime, but he is still under investigation for corruption and embezzlement. His the fall reverberated throughout Europe, where many of the traditional center-right parties he once inspired are in crisis.

When a monument in the Tunisian capital dedicated to those killed in the country’s 2011 uprising was recently damaged, few people noticed or even cared.

A decade later, Tunisia remembers its revolution – which sparked the protests known as the Arab Spring and ushered in the movement’s only remaining democracy – with a sort of reluctance bordering on hostility.

Famous fashion house Cristóbal Balenciaga jumped the catwalk this year and screened a special 10-minute episode of “The Simpsons”.

It was a surprise in the works for more than a year, reports Jessica Testa for The Times, and the result of a sometimes grueling collaboration between Demna Gvasalia, the artistic director of Balenciaga, and Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons. – two demanding creative entities known for their attention to detail. So far the episode has been viewed over five million times on Youtube.

In the episode, Homer writes to Balenciaga for Marge’s birthday (“Dear Balun, Ballon, Baleen, Balenciaga-ga,” he says as he struggles to pronounce the famous fashion name), explaining that his wife always wanted to own something by the brand. The emails lead, through various twists, to the brand’s decision to “save” the “style-deprived” residents of Springfield by inviting them to model Balenciaga’s clothing in Paris.

While the collaboration has some surprising novelty, the brands share a similar philosophy: an appreciation for self-referentiality, breaking the rules and bridging the intellectual to the intellectual.

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Your Monday Briefing - The New York Times
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