One of the most important things that help to understand and stop spread of COVID-19 is testing. Science explains why testing is important, what it involves and scientific needs for data-sets. So how many tests countries are doing based on available data from official sources are among important issues. Testing allows infected people to know if they are infected and needs care. This can, also, help take measures to reduce probability of infecting others. On region-wide scale testing allows to understand the spread of the disease, to take evidence-based measures to slow down the spread and eventually to control the pandemic. Because of several reasons, the capacity for COVID-19 testing is still very limited worldwide, so we still do not have detailed understanding of the spread. With testing someone ‘COVID-19 infected’ may produce false-negative results and may require more than one test (https://ourworldindata.org/covid-testing). While science is the bases and reference to make sound policies and decisions there are several practical and technical constraints what regards when, where and how to scale-up an effective, prompt and affordable infra-structure for nation-wide testing capacity (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-widespread-coronavirus-testing-isnt-coming-anytime-soon). The US for example, reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on January 21st. Eight weeks later, there still aren’t enough tests for the virus available for everyone who needs them and this is also the case in many other countries around the world. “It is a failing,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as “The system is not really geared to what we need right now.” People who are sick or have been in contact with sick people are struggling to be tested and labs to get the supplies needed (https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/17/21184015/coronavirus-testing-pcr-diagnostic-point-of-care-cdc-techonology). But some African, Asian, European, and South American countries are responding quite differently. Below is a sampling of the ways different countries have been working to protect citizens from the Covid-19 virus (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/science-and-health/2020/3/22/21189889/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-response-south-korea-phillipines-italy-nicaragua-senegal-hong-kong). South Korea has the world’s most comprehensive protective measures with the most novel, too “Public Phone Booths”. A hospital in Seoul has installed them to offer easy, quick testing to people worried about having the disease. The way it works is spectacular: One person at a time can enter one side of the glass-walled booth and grab a handset connected to a hospital worker standing on the other side of the glass. After a consultation, the staff member can stick their arms into rubber gloves embedded into the booth to swab the patient quickly, collecting a sample before the booth is quickly disinfected. The hospital says the seven-minute exam allows it to test almost 10 times as many samples as it could without the special booths. Similar techniques are used in hot radioactive labs to protect laboratory-staff against radiation. However, Taiwan has very high ranking of protection measures against COV-19 though close to China, has intensive traffic and relatively higher population than other counties with very high infection and death rates. There are other examples of countries struggling with many complications such as inadequate testing, lack of staff and lack of protective equipment for medical staff, e.g. the Philippines. The country’s main island of Luzon is under lockdown with half the country’s population of 107 million live on Luzon including 12 million in Manila. The Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. has begun to warn of potential gaps in the food supply chain. Some says if you can’t get tested? Maybe you’re in the wrong country (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/world/europe/coronavirus-testing-world-countries-cities-states.html). It is not about science, very early, scientists around the world were waiting at their computers in early January when China released the coronavirus genetic code, the blueprint for creating tests and vaccines. Within days, labs from Hong Kong to Berlin had designed tests and shared their research with others. However, decisions and blunders made months ago have caused testing disparities worldwide. The science, it turns out, was the easy part.
The coronavirus is taking strong grip in the member states of the EU and the spreading of COVID-19 has achieved different stages in the member states with variable geographic rates, extent and hot zones distribution. The top of the spreading-peak is far from being achieved in all of the member states as is the case in China where the recovery seems to be taking place. The situation in Europe is worse than the corresponding one in China at its early stages of COVID-19 spreading (https://www.svd.se/who-kraver-mer-provtagning-och-isolering; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/save-lives-with-social-distancing-how-to-protect-your-family-from-coronavirus-primed-to-hit-india-like-a-bomb/). The EU is now facing tectonic threats on several scales as coronavirus is new, aggressive and fatal on all levels and has complex, dynamic and fast interactions and impacts on all sectors. Though there has been division between the EU member states regarding how they can deal with COVID-19, the policies have shifted and converged very rapid into general strategies to limit spreading of the COVID-19 by restricting mobility and gathering of the citizens in public and working places. However, such restrictions don’t apply to strategic and critical service in key sectors such as health care. In higher education and upper school system there is major turn from campus teaching to distant and IT online teaching to limit gathering and travel and transport (mobility). It is a total turn away from previous theories and actions to use, apply and implement the so-called ‘herd immunity’ (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity; https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-herd-immunity-meaning-definition-what-vaccine-immune-covid-19-a9397871.html%3famp) as it was suggested, e.g. in the UK (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/pm-tells-britons-to-avoid-non-essential-contact-with-others). Sweden has (https://youtu.be/Snnflr_8HKM) in particular taken many solid decisions in this respects to protect and support its citizens on several levels. The UK (not member state) shifted away from considering potential advantage of the population to acquire some element of herd immunity as this scenario, according to new data from Italy would require the loss of very high number of people from the coronavirus. The herd immunity model fierced backlash on social media in the UK with people claiming it amounted to evidence that their government was happy for large numbers of people to get coronavirus (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/15/boris-johnson-to-hold-daily-coronavirus-press-briefings). All of the member states in Europe however aren’t in favor of such strategy and follow more or less the recommendations of the WHO to break the chain of the COVID-19 transmission, i.e. to limit the expansion of the disease. Early actions (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/save-lives-with-social-distancing-how-to-protect-your-family-from-coronavirus-primed-to-hit-india-like-a-bomb/) can save lives and the WHO has previously slammed the UK and Sweden for scaling back coronavirus testing and warned ‘don’t just let this fire burn’. However, though “Wait and See” strategies exhausted the early possibilities of coronavirus testing, the new policies now are going in the right track to save more lives and empower the citizens by correct public awareness tools as well as to give the private and public sectors the necessary economic support. In Sweden for example, the government has launched strong economic support packages (300 billion ‘swedish crowns (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.thelocal.se/20200316/sweden-launches-300-billion-kronor-coronavirus-crisis-package/amp) to protect businesses and jobs from the fallout of the new coronavirus. Among other measures in Sweden for example, narrowing the possibilities of gathering and mobility, strengthening distant and online teaching, intensifying health care efforts, public awareness on protective health issues and providing economic support to compensate impacts from shutting down work-places and effects from health injuries.
Since the breakdown of a new Coronavirus in China and an early alarm by a Chinese physician (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/world/asia/chinese-doctor-Li-Wenliang-coronavirus.amp.html) who tried to sound a warning that a troubling cluster of viral infections in a Chinese province could grow out of control with serious consequences, the rest of the world responded with a naive and irrational thinking “wait and see”. This is though it is a novel and rather unknown virus (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html) and the very first alarm by doctor, Li Wenliang, was an outcry to the world, and not only to China, to be prepared about what could happen in the future. The logic and rational thinking tells us another reality, as experienced everyday since the outbreak at Wuhan and after very long “wait and see”. The reality that a virus is a virus and can hit any person anywhere once is exposed to it directly or indirectly. It is a blind gambling to think something else as we live in very tight and densely urbanized communities, and not seldom overpopulated cities, on a very globalized planet with very fast, ultra active and even super crowded transport systems 60/24/7. How can we continue to sleep with a virus that doesn’t sleep, has constant and enormous possibilities for spreading globally and not only locally or regionally as previously thought. We thought that what happened in Wuhan wouldn’t happen somewhere else and people around the world continued watching what is going in China and how the virus is spreading with no idea that we belong to the same planet. The virus has no boundaries to stop it as there are no effective medicine to halt its spreading, no well-defined information on the dynamics of its transmission and how containment can be done on national and global scales. Though these known facts the world was left with only one irrational option “Wait and see” until it is right among us, in our working places and allover the globe in almost every country. The WHO was criticized by being slow to act on this epidemic as in previous health crisis (https://youtu.be/Fha0m7Wo3F0). Statements from WHO are based on the global statistical spread “wait and see” of the virus and not on the nature of the virus itself and careful forecasting and predictions of what could happen as based on spatio-temporal consequence analyses of the transmission and spreading dynamics. With an early (at a later stage) but yet fast global spreading of the coronavirus the WHO did warn the global community about quick actions and economic solidarity. Consequently, many countries around the world were still slow to act as they followed the early statements of WHO rather than taking own initiatives to protect their national population. New viruses such as COVID-19, by being novel is not among the priority list of WHO (https://www.who.int/activities/prioritizing-diseases-for-research-and-development-in-emergency-contexts) so it came as a surprise with insufficient strategies how to handle it more than “wait and see”, as a first reaction, and this in itself caused huge “wait and see” uncertainties among politicians, as economic issues based on growth economy have also to be taken in consideration. Though the science is crystal clear, it is new novel virus (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Fabout%2Ftransmission.html; https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/as-coronavirus-spreads-many-questions-and-some-answers-2020022719004) with far unknown impacts and serious precautions have to be in place as being experienced and guided from reality (https://youtu.be/A1yXTlvTB08). Many information was given to individuals (e.g. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7927017/How-travel-safe-coronavirus-outbreak-according-expert.html). How to deal with it on the personal level is of course very important but being an issue of Public health the main responsibility is still, and should be on the first place, on the national level as effective national and timely strategies supported by coordinated infra-structures are imperative in such situations. By intuition everyone of us felt it will come sooner or later to our homes but we reacted irrationally hoping that what happened in China will not happen to us though human beings, in spite of where on planet earth, are biologically the same organism (http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap6.htm) driven by basic human biology principles (https://www.edx.org/course/essential-human-biology-cells-and-tissues). It is time now to rethink about more sustainable socio-economic system where health and economic issues are treated on equal footing (https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/coronavirus-recession-economy-would-pose-unique-threats-federal-reserve-response-2020-3-1028956481). Better late than never, the OECD declared a sharp recommendation that “Governments need to act immediately to contain the epidemic, support the health care system, protect people, shore up demand and provide a financial lifeline to households and businesses that are most affected (https://www.google.se/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/Business/coronavirus-cut-global-economic-growth-outlook-half-oecd/story%3fid=69334244). There are no other means to face a new emerging reality that requires sustainable policies as formulated by the UN-SDGs. For Coronavirus live updates: Bookmark this map to track global cases in real-time (https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6). The global map of coronavirus as by 10/3-2020
REGISTRATION is opened for participation in a new Ph.D. faculty (Science and Technology) COURSE at Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science & Technology”. As far as possible and if places are available Ph.D. researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences are also welcome to register.
The conflicting uncertainties regarding global warming and climate change is getting more and more real. It is not only a Chinese Hoax as described by the President of the United States (https://www.google.se/amp/s/time.com/5622374/donald-trump-climate-change-hoax-event/%3famp=true), it is also an European paradox causing social trauma (https://youtu.be/vGPU5SWV1DE) of two contrasting realities. A growing conflict and fear fueling collective social frustration about what we want in our life – Life Quality? or Life Standard? The Paris Agreement is now suffering from a new Hoax, a competition between two contrasting European (also global) interests, a comedian theatre 🎭 by the European Commission and the European Citizens. A blaming and shaming that is dividing Europe into two blocks. Whether you believe or not in global warming and climate change it is shame on you. Shame on you if you believe, though you want to protect and preserve the natural resources, as you are participating in the degradation of European standard of living. Shame on you if you do not, though you are concerned about promoting high economic living standard, you are not caring about the European life quality (also quality of life on planet Earth) by protecting and preserving our common natural resources and capital.
One example illustrating the European paradox and trauma what regards the Paris Agreement is the transport and air aviation sector. This also, applies globally. The transport and air aviation has huge emissions of greenhouse gases and contribute intensively in global warming and climate change. Still there are many other sectors that have more severe contributions (https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data). The standpoint of the European Commission what regards transport and air aviation is a comedian theatre 🎭 over global warming. On the one hand it supports the business-as-usual in transport and air aviation sectors (http://sorenandersson.com/aviation-a-climate-change-villain/; https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport_en; https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air_en; https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/aeronautics_en). The European Commission says “The Aviation Strategy is a milestone initiative to generate growth for European business, foster innovation and let passengers profit from safe, cleaner and cheaper flights, while offering more connections. This Strategy contributes directly to the Commission priorities of jobs and growth, digital single market, energy union and EU as a global actor. The Aviation Strategy of the Commisson will enable European aviation to flourish globally. So, despite the current economic crisis, global air transport over the long term is expected to grow by around 5% annually until 2030. While on the other hand the European Commisson supports the ongoing protests against business-as-usual in transport and air aviation (https://youtu.be/szdgJi2VKW8). The European Commission says, an air-flight from London to New York and back is producing carbon dioxide emission equivalent to the same emission that an average European citizen does by heating a home for an entire year.
Another important issue what regards carbon dioxide emission, is virtual emission. According to reports published by Our World Data Organization (https://ourworlddata.org) trusted by most reputed international Research and Media sources and institutions on “Carbon Dioxide and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” by Emissions” by Hannah Ritchie and Max Rose (https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions). The report clearly indicate that the global emissions in greenhouse gases are still increasing and “if we switched to a consumption-based reporting system (which corrects for this trade), in 2014 the annual CO￼ emissions of many European economies would increase by more than 30% (the UK by 38%; Sweden by 66%; and Belgium’s emissions would nearly double); and the USA’s emissions would increase by 7%. On the other hand, China’s emissions would decrease by 13%; India’s by 9%; Russia’s by 14% and South Africa by 29%”. This indicates Europe, and in particular Sweden, are doing very little for the rest of the world to decrease the global carbon dioxide emissions and to actively participate in the global mitigation of the impacts of climate change. It is indeed an inconvenient truth about the European paradox and trauma what regards following the Paris Agreement and taking international agreements seriously instead of blaming and shaming their citizens and the rest of the world.
Currently science and technology can not predict how life on Planet Earth would look like in 2050-2100. In fact, we are facing huge uncertainties what regards how life would look like for us and other species that are sharing the declining and degrading resources on Planet Earth. With the exceptions of Ice Ages, this situation never existed before in human history. The Imperatives for life in 2050-2100 have fundamental prerequisies: the foundation of Science and Technology and the associated Scientific Method has to be based to solid Sustainability Pillars. A post graduate course for Ph.D. researchers at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science and Technology” will take place in November 2019.
This is a pre-announcement and an open invitation to get feedback from those who either wish to participate or to contribute in the course. The processes and actions for scaling-up science and technology to meet the UN-SDGs would require partnership for international collaboration. Information on the content and composition of the course, is given in the attached document.
In my lifetime, the life on planet Earth went through considerable degradation. Me and my fellow inhabitants had good times but bad times too. I chose education and science as my career. I will unfold how I experienced the evolution around me that brought us in this mess and the considerable fear that many young people are experiencing today. In some cases, it is a constant nightmare but certainly not for all.
As far as I remember and since I started to be aware of the world around me, and the growing inconvenient reality of the majority of people around me, I sank in an internal black-hole inside myself. This is although me, my family and the nearest friends around me were relatively in good shape and economically much better off than many others around us. We had many dreams and imagination for better future because of our own favorable conditions and the “State” still had enough resources to offer free and good education standards for the citizens. But only for those that were aware of the needs for education, had the motivation and could afford to go to school.
A black-hole that held me tight inside myself as an eternal prisoner with an intensive internal and never ending dialogue with myself. What for good sake was going on around me, how would such masses of people with complex and inherited socio-economic inequalities could manage to change their realities with yet unsolved political instabilities driven by the distant past of regional and global conflicts. Was this the life I am going to have for the rest of my life and for many years ahead? Although one could solve own problems but yet could not escape the environments around. As children at that time, the fifties, we were not allowed to speak out our-minds, even if we did so, the responses were not helpful to understand the complex reality around us. Realizing problems and conflicts without finding ways to solve them, or at least possibilities to change them, was a very source of constant fear. This made me, and the nearest people around me, much more frustrated and scared, also from diverse unknowns of both the near and distant future. For the lucky new generations of the nineties, even if modern life came up with different modern difficulties, they still had the internet to communicate, to debate, discuss and understand the world much better than me and my generation at that time of the fifties and the sixties.
To be born in the middle of wars, conflits, misery, poverty and above all illiteracy, ignorance and conservatism was not fun at all. Though these conditions, the life was still easy and enjoyable as these were not felt as suffering but rather challenges and every small positive outcome brought with it some happiness. I was still lucky to have a better start of life than many other around me, also many millions far from me on the same planet Earth. At the age of eleven is was the time for me to be brought in a big war right in every place in my city and its streets “Port-Said”, the Suez War (https://medium.com/@harrystead17/how-the-suez-crisis-set-the-sun-on-the-british-empire-4b8771807f30). I lived with my family in Port-Said in 1956 and during this war the city became cut off and isolated from the rest of the whole world for more than three month, no food, no water, no electricity, no school, no hospitals, no transportation ……. no civil life at all. It was a huge and enormous battle every day, every hour and every minute inside the city of Port-Said exactly in every street and all corner of the city. Many destructions, fires, shootings, crimes, rapes and killing. This was a daily experience for us and for all who remained living in Port-Said. Naturally, some people left and escaped the hell. The rest of the world was just running as usual with the exception that I, my fellow citizens, had to pay the price for observing how the Sues crisis sat the sun on the British Empire. No one imagined that this would or even could be so “the empire on which the sun never sets“. I did not understand and still I do not find any logic reason why such crisis couldn’t be solved with any other peaceful means. What the aggressive Sues War achieved by the invaders was just nothing other than bringing more damage not only to my world but for many others as well. There were definitely many victims but I was extremely lucky to survive this war. I remember the tragedies of the heavy bombing of the city and some houses around us were totally destroyed. At that time the war also added more conflicts to the rest of the world. An emotional actions of the most powerful countries that have nothing to offer other than destruction and damage. As a child and a global citizen (at that time we did not think as global citizens, it was only global politics) was just to accept wars caused by disintegrating empires that still tried to gain their lost power but ended up in polarizing the world to smaller separate powers. I, as the rest of the world, have just to accept such cruel behavior from the most powerful countries in the world.
I will continue unfolding my story in small parts and how the wars on plants earth made us blind and to forget about our basic needs on planet earth. Probably, the evil in us was much stronger than we could have ever imagined. Time was needed to dismantle such evil with the price of more destructions before we get time to deal with our needs without the constant fear that kept us in the captivity of insecurity.
Is Climate Change issue turning the world into an increasingly organized activism that can trigger global waves of new fanaticism. After the case of the Swedish 16-years climate activist ‘Greta Thunberg’ waves of mass global protests took and are taking place. Yet, new preparation of massive school protests against politics and politicians are on the way and more are likely to take place. In The Guardian we can read the following: What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools’, prime minister Scott Morrison yells after being asked a question about school students participating in a climate change strike. Greens MP Adam Bandt asked if the PM would ‘listen to these kids, who are demanding your government to keep coal in the ground?’ Morrison’s response was that they should stay in school and leave politics to those ‘outside of school’ (https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2018/nov/27/scott-morrison-tells-kids-going-on-climate-strike-to-get-back-to-school-video). Then the question to Morrison is why do you ask the citizens to vote? Would Morrison encourage people in the U.K. to stay at home and not participate in political elections or be engaged in political decisions and policies?
Scientistswarning.org, as is given on their home-page, is a Union of Concerned Citizens with a mission for protection and preservation of life on Earth. This organization is giving their total support for school protests (https://youtu.be/R6s8YgRH5T0). The essence of their mission is a protest against Consumerism, with its cast of advertising executives, bankers and economists, corporate CEOs, politicians, etc. It is all about the evolving of defective ‘operating system’ that insists on infinite, accelerating economic growth despite the ecological costs – namely the destruction of Nature. Many scientists have signed or endorsed what is displayed on the home-page of Scientistswarning.org to avoid the worst of ecological destabilization that we have inflicted on Mother Earth. We are all, as is said on their home-page “therefore de facto members of what we are calling the Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth”.
The ongoing school protests triggered by activists supported by international and national organizations are likely to expand to uncontrolled protests on diverse and global wider scales as there are million if not billions of less-privileged-people. Climate Change action is only one goal of the seventeen UN-SDGs. If our focus will continue to be focused on only one goal we are likely to run in huge trouble in the future. We can expect some sort of global civil wars that may include avalanches and waves of brutal activities around the world. That if things grow out of control. The Climate Change issue, though is certainly of global importance, is only a small part of the UN-SDGs (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) with 17 goals and 169 targets that summarize the global defects in the socio-economic-environment systems around the world. The UN-SDGs is global comprehensive agreement that are designed by all world countries, they are shaped to mitigate and solve multi-layered disparities ranging from poverty, hunger, education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth for all, reduced inequalities, responsible production and consumption, acceptable global quality of life on land and under water, peace/justice/strong institutions and partnership for goals. By being signed by all countries around the world give the global citizens the right to protest and to be activist.
The ongoing school protests in the developed countries are primarily focused on solving the energy issue “the so-called Paris Agreement (https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement), i.e. moving away from fossil fuel and turning over to renewables. The withdrawal of USA “Trump Administration” from the Paris agreement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_the_Paris_Agreement) and the silent/passive acceptance of the world community of the USA action has indeed caused massive latent anger of the world citizens. The same scenario that caused enormous tragedies in the MENA region because of the Iraqi war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War).
The school protests initiated by climate activists, initially by Greta Thunberg’s family are not taking in their consideration the whole web of the UN-SDG thus are likely to trigger new series of violent protests around the world such as those took place in the MENA region in 2011, the Arab Spring.
Much of the world attention ⚠️ is currently focused on the reduction of carbon dioxide in atmosphere primarily through replacing fossil fuel by the use of renewables. In theory this seems to be essential for tackling the ongoing global warming and thereby mitigating climate change impacts and the associated threats on all life forms on Earth. However, this alone in not realistic for several reasons and will not result in achieving the goals of the Paris agreement what concerns the Climate action.
Indeed, climate change and the sustainable development goals are inextricably linked. Despite this fact, there is no formal interrelationship between their designated international processes, namely, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This represents a major obstacle for the successful and inclusive implementation of the UNFCCC (http://17goals.org/paris-agreement-sdgs/).
Both the Paris Agreement and UNSDGs are not likely to be achieved if the growth of world population continue to accelerate as it is by todays rate (https://youtu.be/1sP291B7SCw). We have already serious global failing of housing policies (
https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/04/the-global-housing-crisis/557639/) which indeed is not related to further expansion of urbanization, more and more buildings but rather increasing economic imparities (https://youtu.be/IRs6B69z8Jk). We have still a global tabu what concerns to discuss the reasons behind the population growth and what policies and actions are needed to regulate the world growth in order to achieve the UNFCCC and the UNSDGs.