“Deer of the Year” Carrot recovering after arrow pulled from head. Hawaii’s Depression-era jobs scheme to end as CARES money runs out. US manages to secure more Pfizer vaccine doses. UK’s Johnson may soon announce Brexit deal. Read all about it below.
Using CARES money, Hawaii revived a Depression-era jobs scheme
States across the country are racing to spend money from the April CARES act before a deadline at the end of this month. The new deal, as yet unsigned, provides no new funds in the form of direct aid to state and local governments. States have variously spent this money on rental assistance, food bank support, unemployment insurance and support for local health facilities. Unlike many states, Hawaii has been pretty successful in containing COVID outbreaks. But it has not been spared the economic fallout. Unemployment in Hawaii stands around 10%, one of the highest rates in the country.
“We needed people–people needed jobs. CARES money did that”.
Hawaii decided to put some of its CARES money towards a jobs scheme. The Aina Corps (from the native Hawaiian word for “land”) is reminiscent of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. All 350 Aina Corps employees receive at least $15 dollars an hour, plus healthcare, to perform much-needed environmental conservation work. The leader of one participating conservation organization says that Aina Corps jobs have saved many employees from falling behind on rent or being unable to buy food. “We needed people–people needed jobs. CARES money did that”.
But that may come to an end after the new year. Some are hopeful that they’ll be able to obtain federal grant money to keep the scheme going. Otherwise, the Aina Corps employees, many of them recent high school or college graduates, will find themselves out of a job.
US secures more Pfizer vaccines, but stumbling blocks remain
Yesterday, Pfizer agreed to supply the US with 100 million more doses of its COVID vaccine. Added to the 100 million already ordered, this will be enough to immunize 100 million Americans with the two-dose vaccine. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says we will now have enough “to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021”. While this new deal, and the recent approval of a vaccine from Moderna, are encouraging, a few stumbling blocks remain.
Funding in the new COVID aid package guarantees that the vaccine is free and readily available. But, logistically speaking, getting the vaccine to every person who wants it is a mammoth task. Aside from this, there is the problem of determining who gets the vaccine first. Frontline health workers have been at the head of the line in most states. Next are people with pre-existing conditions and then other essential workers. But even the criteria for who qualifies as an “essential worker” is still unclear.
A new poll shows that 4 in 10 Americans do not want to receive the vaccine. This is a big problem, even for those who are willing to get the vaccine. Experts say 75% of Americans must get the vaccine to achieve herd immunity and prevent the virus from evolving beyond the point where people who do receive the vaccine remain protected.
Additionally this poll indicates the attitudes of American adults. Since neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are yet approved for children under 16, this means the virus will remain free to circulate and mutate among a huge percentage of the population. Even more worrisome, many of those expressing skepticism are African-Americans, who have so far been one of the worst-affected groups in the US.
Secretary Azar says that the US will spend $250 million to try to convince people that the vaccine is safe
“Deer of the Year” Carrot doing fine after arrow pulled from head
Ontario nature photographer Lee-Anne Carver got her Christmas wish this year: a happy ending for a woodland friend. Carrot, a young whitetail buck, made headlines last week after Carver published a shocking photo of him with an arrow impaled in the back of his head.
Carrot, who was orphaned as a fawn, has been visiting Carver’s backyard for the past three years. Then a few weeks ago, Carrot turned up with the carbon arrow sticking out of his head. Despite the grievous injury, Carver said Carrot was as friendly as ever. She published the photo as a cry for help for Carrot. At first, experts who learned of the story advised against removing the arrow, fearing the wound may become infected. But subsequently, experts decided the risk that Carrot may come to further harm outweighed the risk of surgery.
Touch and go
Carrot was eventually captured and sedated. Local vets had never performed such a delicate operation, so a specialist over 1200 miles away in Ottawa phoned in detailed instructions. The arrow came out cleanly, but pus oozed from the wound, indicating some sort of infection was already present. Carrot’s tongue also turned blue, a reaction to the anesthetic.
All the while, thousands of people all over the world followed Carrot’s progress on Carver’s Facebook page. Many children wrote in, saying that they wanted become vets or offering their savings to help Carrot’s recovery. Eventually, Carrot recovered enough to be released. He then disappeared for a few days, worrying Carver who scoured the woods in the bitter cold looking for him. At sunrise on Monday, she was driving home when she saw some deer nearby. Carver shouted with joy when Carrot came bounding up to her to lick her hands.
“I just can’t believe it. My heart is so filled with joy,” Carver said. “He’s pulled so many of us through that maze of darkness and we’ve been made happy again. He really truly is the deer of year.”
UK’s Johnson may soon announce Brexit deal, a Pyrrhic victory for many
After a week of marathon negotiation sessions, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may soon announce a Brexit deal with the EU. While markets have been enthusiastic, many in the UK see the deal as a loss. This includes Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who says the new deal will be devastating to Scottish farmers. The deal allows the UK to continue exporting agricultural goods to the Continent. However, seed crops such as seed potatoes, a key Scottish export, will be banned. Sturgeon didn’t fail to point out the irony that Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU, is now one of the biggest losers of Brexit.
“Vote Leave” advocate Nigel Farage of the UKIP party has also characterized the deal as a “sell-out” for UK fisheries. Fisheries have been a huge sticking point in the negotiations. The EU has insisted that EU fisheries maintain access to British territorial waters.
David Henig, head of a UK trade policy thinktank, says the deal is a largely one-sided victory for the EU. Henig says “Ultimately the EU achieved their main goals from Brexit, and the UK arguably did not”. For some, having left the EU is a victory in itself. However, “Vote Leave” proponents (like Johnson and Farrage) have failed to deliver on their promise of retaining the benefits of EU membership with none of its downsides. If anything, the final outcome has been quite the reverse.Brexit, Covid-19 coronavirus, EU, Hawaii, national news. world news, New Deal, Pfizer COVID vaccine, UK, wildlife