The pandemic has had a massive impact on many things—our daily and work routines, hygiene habits, the way we socialize, shop, and behave in public, our plans as well as those of many businesses and governments, and a slew of many other things.

Many of us have grown accustomed to the way the world has changed, but are also looking forward to the time when things will go back to normal. Alas, not everything will remain the way it has been because of how drastically the coronavirus has changed the world and the way it used to work.

So, it does seem appropriate to wonder what has been changed forever. Reddit user u/Cuish has recently asked that very question—what will never be the same again once the pandemic is over?—and Reddit delivered over 17,000 responses.

Bored Panda invites you to read through some of the best and most thought-provoking answers to the question. Scroll down to read through them and make sure to comment and vote on the ones you liked the most.

#1My marriage.

My wife and I had to work from home together (separate jobs) from March until September when she had to go back to the office. I am still working from home. During this time, we became increasingly closer. I have heard so many stories of marital problems being caused by Covid. I literally miss my wife everyday she has to go to work.

I meet her at the door like a fucking puppy. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sometimes forced proximity does too.

Image credits: level 1 quimbykimbleton

#2Hopefully your boss will finally admit that all his dumb meetings actually could have been emails all along.

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#3The phrase “avoid it like the plague” – turns out people don’t do that.

Image credits: puntilnexttime

#4A massive amount of people now know they can work from home.

Image credits: OttoManSatire

#5Time spent with my kids.

Pre-pandemic I would leave the house 5 days a week at 6:15am to commute to the office, usually before anyone else in my house is awake. And I’d get home most evenings just in time to put them to bed. I’ll never go back to that. The past 8 months I’ve actually seen my boys grow up in front of my eyes and I get lots of quality time with them every day, even with work from home.

I know now what i was missing.

Image credits: darylcarolan

#6Blowing out the candles on your birthday cake

Image credits: level 1 Speakinmymind96

#7I will not take hugs for granted.

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#8Anytime you’re sick, you’ll wear a mask. I’m amazed at all the times I flew before when I had a cold, and didn’t wear a mask.

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#9Office life. My company has already announced that once we are allowed to go back, we’d only be going once or twice a week. It seems many realized how feasible working from home is.

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#10My dogs have expected me to basically be around all the time and rub their belly’s 24/7#11My definition of “personal space.”

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#12People coming into work sick to show how dedicated to work they are or saving those days for ‘mental health days’ meant ironically.

No Justin! Don’t come over to my desk with your coughing and runny nose telling me how bad you’re ‘roughing it’ at work to get some sympathy. “If you’re looking for sympathy, look under the dictionary between shit and syphilis”!#13As a current college student, I am in favor of keeping recorded lectures. It’s way more helpful than just having notes or slides.

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#14Shopping will continue to be mostly online and malls will likely die out faster than they were already going to.

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#15Most of the mom and pop stores in my town are gone forever. Some of these stores I grew up with, the nickle arcade, the tiny French bakery my aunt took us to when we got good grades, the only ramen shop open after 10PM, my favorite donut shop, the fancy British tea shop I never had a good date in but many London Fogs that were utterly perfect, the only dim sum place, the handmade mochi and tea shop, the only cigar shop in town to get fancy cigars…

I lament the death of all these tiny businesses I took for granted. I always thought they’d be around. Now my community is left with just brand named box stores, no more originality and flavor. Just closed skyrise buildings surrounded by a garishly lit Denny’s, Olive Garden, and Target.

Image credits: Not-A-SoggyBagel

#16Working in an office, particularly in Japan.

I live in Japan. Going to the office and spending all day here is a deep cultural tradition. So many companies here, even in the early COVID days, flat out publicly said “Hah, no, we will NEVER be doing that ‘work from home’ thing, sorry. That’s laughably naïve.”

Then, the country issued a “Declaration of National Urgency” (not an actual Emergency, as that would entitle the govt to be actually accountable to the livelihoods of the people, just a very strong arm public stance and shaming businesses into following suit).

And those traditional Japanese businesses saw what happened to their bottom lines when they no longer had to pay for electricity, heating/AC, cleaning, office equipment and maintenance, subsidized travel expenses to/from work, soft items like coffee and snacks, etc… and so many of them now are singing the praises of a “sensible work from home policy” and planning for even long-term work-from-home options.

Image credits: Diamond_Sutra

#17Health care workers going to work without a mask on. Definitely took for granted seeing my co workers smiling faces during my long shifts

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#18I’m hoping that this convinces the (American, pretty much everyone else has this figured out already) masses that healthcare is a human right and should not be tied to employment. The pandemic has shown that plenty of people lose their jobs through no fault of their own, despite their best efforts and that should not condemn them to either going without healthcare or accumulating crippling debt when they lose their health insurance coverage.#19Obliviousness to how many things I touched between hand washings

Image credits: level 1 snortingdietcoke

#20Literally this morning, our local paper reported that the government is aiming to achieve full internet coverage throughout Indonesia, reaching even the remote villages by 2024. We had a local meme as our boomer minister said a few years back something in the line of “Why do we need strong internet access?” It took the poor stealing smartphones for the sole purpose of letting their kids attend online classes to convince them. So the answer to the question is: some boomers’ view on the value of internet accessability.#21My waistline

Image credits: Sk8rmom

#22Childhood development theories – we now have an entire group of children who have missed what are regarded as developmental milestones. Learning to play cooperatively with others, learning to share, empathy building, etc. It will be very interesting to see the research coming out over the next decade or so#23As a nursing assistant… I will be forever oh so hesitant to get near someone (particularly the elderly who like to cough directly at you) without my eye-shield and mask.

Image credits: Pigvalve

#24They’ll probably leave the plexiglass things up. That’s probably it.#25Drinking fountains.

Image credits: indianalayla

#26Hopefully frequent handwashings will become the norm. And hand sanitizers in shops, restaurants and public spaces.

As someone who refuses to touch food if I haven’t washed my hands (I am emetophobic, I’m terrified of the stomach flu), this endless supply everywhere I go is really nice. And people who usually don’t care about washing their hands do it more often!#27Having been the funeral organist for numerous pandemic-caused deaths:

I can bear first-hand witness to the sad fact that the families and friends of the departed brought to their death by COVID-19 will never be the same.#28Food delivery just being dropped off on your doorstep. Remember when you had to go outside and make EYE CONTACT like some kind of PERSON?! No more, my friends. Just leave it outside and I’ll get it when I’m ready. No more scrambling to find pants when you’re half baked and hungry…#29It’s annoying how (seemingly) quickly my life went from talking about where we wanted to buy a house to discussing the possibility of moving back in with my parents for a while.

RIP live music career, you will be missed.#30I am afraid that a lot of karaokes and spas in our country will go out of business.#31Standing next to someone after they sneeze#32Movies, unfortunately. Cinema specifically. I’m sure a lot of production companies will take enormous losses or possibly file bankruptcy as no one is paying to go see movies anymore. The other issue being that no one can really make movies at the moment either. Travel bans all over, logistic issues, actors not able to be within close proximity to one another, and then all the post-production work that, for the most part can’t be done from home. Little to no support for creative arts jobs from governments around the globe. Artists encouraged to retrain in other sectors.#33Dating is going to get even more app related which isnt good for most people honestly. Especially if people work at home more and dont go out for entertainment.#34My attitude towards my entertainment backlog. Previously I used to look at my PlayStation library or my Netflix list and think “If I just had a few weeks off,I could make a serious dent”

I’ve had more then a few weeks off and my backlog seems if anything more endless,I’ll probably be in the retirement home with that little voice in the back of my head going “Peaky Blinders is meant to be good,should get on that”#35Fewer weddings, more elopements.#36I have the impression that people has shown their worst part and this will have consequences for long time#37People actually knowing what 6ft looks like. Seriously, everyone’s estimations of 6ft distance have been just gradually decreasing and decreasing to a point where most people are hanging out 3ft away and thinking it’s 6#38Cruise Ships… dubious that industry will come out the other side without radical changes#39Snow days (for school)#40Video games. They feel like they did when I was a teenager again. Usually I feel guilty that I’m not doing something more productive, but right now I could care less about spending a whole weekend doing almost nothing but playing video games.

Original Source: boredpanda.com

The participation of insurers from rural areas is abysmally low in our country. And life insurers, especially private companies, have always been focussed more towards the urban population. For a long time now, the sector has not found many takers from rural areas due to several reasons such as low literacy rates, low incomes, etc. 

According to IRDAI, the insurance tech is a business that is yet to penetrate more than five percent of India’s population in the life segment, and in the non-life segment it is only 15 percent of the total viable market of $100 billion.

Spotting a gap in the segment, Abhishek Tiwari founded iAssure in 2015. The Jaipur-based startup aims to increase insurance penetration in semi-urban and rural areas, and is providing a platform for people to buy all general insurance products with point of sales persons (POSPs). 

“While working in Tier-II and III markets, we realised there was a huge gap in distribution as far as insurance is concerned. For example, Rajasthan has 33 districts and 300 plus tehsils. The presence of private insurers is not more than ten districts, whereas public players have their presence in all 33 districts and another 30 tehsils. It implies that rest of the market is served by individual or corporate agents who have their own limitations when it comes to offer choice of product and servicing,” says Abhishek. 

“We decided to solve this problem of distribution by digitising the insurance services, create mass level networks, create employment, and serve the unserved and underserved consumers in semi urban and rural markets of Bharat,” he adds. 

According to the company, it is helping individuals sign up with the right insurance plans at affordable price. At present, the startup is providing services in the northern regions of the country, and is currently present in ten states.

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The journey

A law and CA graduate, Abhishek worked with the ICICI Bank for a decade. He also served as the CEO at Au Insurance broking, and it was here the idea of iAssure was born. 

Abhishek says his mission statement is simple – he wants iAssure to insure 5,600 tehsils of India and become a one-stop solution for all financial protection needs of the customers in the next five years. 

“iAssure aims to solve the problem of lack of awareness, trust, digitisation, and distribution in semi urban and rural markets, which is home to eighty percent of the Indian population. iAssure also aims to bridge the deficit of trust by getting the transaction executed through a hyper local trusted resource who talks to the customer in his own language. It’s a sociable, sustainable, and scalable business model,” says Abhishek. 

“When I started out, there were difficulties. Like any startup, there was lack of trust initially among customers. Building a team, creating a model, and establishing a PoC with the technology platform was difficult. Three years down the line, we realised it’s a natural path, which any business or entrepreneur has to travel,” says Abhishek.

iasureThe product

The startup appoints point of sales people (POSP) who travel to towns and use digital means to show different products and pricing to customers that suits their needs. They assist individuals in choosing the right product and also help people with digital payments. 

“We recruit people with basic qualifications from remote areas, provide training to these individuals, and enable them to sell insurance in semi urban and rural markets. These people enjoy the trust of local customers as they belong to the same place, thus helping in the creation of employment/self-employment in these markets as well,” says Abhishek. 

IAssure’s point of sales person can use the phone to access products from multiple insurers, and compare and advise people about the best insurance plan to suit their needs. Since all this happens on a digital platform, it is easy for them to explain the product to the customers. They can also cross sell/upsell to same customer along with a motor insurance and the POSPs can also pitch a health insurance.

The company claims to be having 5,500 POSP counters in the last three years and has issued close to half a million policies.

The insurance market in India

In FY-16, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) introduced and came up with guidelines for Point of Sale Persons, which was aimed at increasing penetration of insurance products by spreading distribution. Under these guidelines, intermediaries were allowed to appoint point of sales people under them who could sell pre underwritten products.

iAssure

Iassure founder Abhishek

Speaking about the current scenario, Abhishek says: “In the life insurance space, about 65 percent market is dominated by individual agents, 25 percent by corporate agents, five percent by insurance companies directly, and the rest is distributed among others. Only five percent sell online. So 95 percent of the market in life insurance is B2B and only five percent is B2C.”

According to the startup, in the non-life insurance segment ,about 30 percent is contributed by individual agents, 12 percent by corporate agents, 28 percent is direct, and 22 percent by brokers. Therefore 80 percent market is B2B and 20 percent B2C.

With the advent of technology and the release of POSP guidelines by IRDAI, the model is now evolving to assisted sales, where there will be physical touch points (individual advisors) with digital enablement. That’s where iAssure’s sweet spot is. 

The business and plans ahead

The bootstrapped startup, which is funded by family and friends, has made a total investment of close to Rs 12 crore in the company till date. 

The startup follows a revenue sharing model. iAssure shares 75 percent of the revenue with the POSP who sources the business and retains a margin of 25 percent on each transaction. 

Till date, the startup, which competes insurtech startups like Acko, Policy Bazaar, and Artivatic, claims to have served half a million customers. The startup clocked a revenue of Rs 9 crore in FY-20, and is eyeing Rs 15 crore in revenue by FY-21. However, the company is yet to become profitable. 

“Q-1 has been encouraging so far owing to the all-time high risk recognition among customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There has been a positive shift in the product mix and we have booked more business in health and life insurance vertical as compared to motor insurance,” says Abhishek. 

In the next 18 months, the startup wants to cover 1,400 tehsils in 10 states in its current area of operation and penetrate vertically. So far, it has covered 500 tehsils in North India. 

The government and IRDAI are also relentlessly working on reforms to improve the situation. Recently, the government increased FDI to 100 percent in the insurance intermediation business, and this alone means that iAssure can scale up in the future. 

Edited by Megha Reddy

Original Source: yourstory.com

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week. This special series of compilations focuses on India’s COVID-19 struggle (see last week’s post here). Share these quotes and excerpts with your networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Food safety issues and the enhancement of health security are of growing national and international concern. – FSSAI report

COVID-19 transformed the fish and meat purchasing behaviour of consumers dramatically. Due to safety concerns, consumers made the habit-forming shift to ecommerce. – Shan Kadavil, FreshToHome

Health is no more about medicines; it is now a way of life. – Sanjaya Mariwala, OmniActive Health Technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of people with disabilities. Visually impaired persons cannot avoid touch and cannot maintain physical distancing in their true sense. – Prashant Ranjan Verma, NAB

The lockdown period has drastically changed individual behaviours and highlighted the need for safety and comfort. – Paul Abraham, Hinduja Foundation

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The pandemic brought enormous human suffering, but the quarantine and economic fallout brought the cash flow crisis. – Patrick Schwerdtfeger, 'Pandemic, Inc.'

It’s competitive to raise funding in any environment and even more so during a crisis of such a magnitude. If you are in a sector that’s in favour right now, do raise a bit more than required to have some buffer. – Jatin Desai, Inflexor Ventures

Any and every profession involves some risk, whether it is delivering food, working on a desk, or running a company. – Raghav Joshi, Rebel Foods

Leading global bodies project that there will be a contraction in global energy demand over the next few years also. – PM Narendra Modi

The coronavirus pandemic has set women professionals back by more than a decade, further disbalancing gender parity at work. – Anuranjita Kumar, WiT India

The pandemic has given rise to unpaid care work that women provide and there has been a reduction in external investment towards women-led enterprises as businesses continue to be affected due to disruption. – Naghma Mulla, EdelGive Foundation

Being used to the traditional office culture, many people don’t have the right frame of mind to work remotely. It takes time, discipline, and dedication to develop that. – Zahara Kanchwalla Zahara, Rite KnowledgeLabs

Corporate campuses are now allowing extended lunch hours to help mitigate the risk by limiting the number of people who can be present in the cafeteria at a time. – Sandipan Mitra, HungerBox

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COVID-19 has accelerated India's digital transformation and a workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills will be the key to unlocking the country's next phase of growth. – Anant Maheshwari, Microsoft India

As consumers have shifted online, more companies are looking at how they can take advantage of this digital shift and the vast economic opportunities that come with it. – Bhavik Vasa, GetVantage

The blue-collar ecosystem is undergoing massive digital transformation and the ongoing pandemic has accelerated this adoption. – Pravin Agarwala, Betterplace

As the city builds back from COVID-19, there is a demanding need for an accessible, affordable, and safe everyday commute option. – Aravind Sanka, Rapido

During COVID-19 pandemic, consumers began demanding social change in the fashion industry by seeking more sustainable brands. – Rina Dhaka, RE.purposed

Comfort is the priority for most men now especially since most of them are working from home these days. – Prince Kumar, Cantabil Retail

Change and evolution is part and parcel of life – but the beauty of theatre and art is that while nothing stays constant, everything stays the same. – Arundhati Nag, Ranga Shankara

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Original Source: yourstory.com

Adapting to 4C of global warming

Emma Howard Boyd’s speech to the Committee on Climate Change’s Adapting to 3C+ of global warming conference

Before I start my speech, I’d like to add my condolences to the Committee on Climate Change and everyone who knew Professor Dame Georgina Mace.

Georgina’s work assessing the impacts of climate change and the effect of adaptation on the natural environment has never been more important.

Her contribution will help every one of us shape a more resilient world in the future.

That goal is what my speech today is all about.

When you look out of a train window, the trees up-close fly by in a blur, the fields in the middle distance glide past, and the far-off hills don’t appear to move at all.

Similarly, in public life: newspaper headlines fly by in a blur, political shifts glide past, and the natural world doesn’t appear to move at all.

Or so it was… until the climate crisis began to distort and accelerate environmental change.

Today, it is as if when we look out of the train window, we can see the far-off hills gathering speed and catching up with our train.

Without adaptation, climate change could depress growth in global agriculture yields up to 30 percent by 2050, disproportionately affecting small farms around the world.

The number of people who lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, could soar from 3.6 billion today, to more than 5 billion by 2050. We take the first line of COVID defence – washing our hands – for granted in the UK, but Water Aid point out this is a luxury that billions of people can’t afford.

Rising seas could force hundreds of millions of people in coastal cities from their homes, with total costs of more than one trillion dollars each year by 2050.

Climate change could also push more than 100 million people in developing countries below the poverty line by 2030.

No wonder more and more people are experiencing “eco-anxiety”.

I want to thank:

The Committee on Climate Change;
The National Centre for Atmospheric Research;
And, the UK’s Climate Resilience Champions…

…for inviting me, for hosting this event, and for showing leadership on adaptation.

And, I want to apologise if I’ve made everyone’s eco-anxiety worse.

What I really want to do is raise the profile of the UK’s expertise on adapting to climate change.

There are many things to be optimistic about.

We definitely have the knowledge in this country to deliver on the Prime Minister’s ambition for a green industrial revolution that “will create hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs”.

That said, any discussion of the green recovery automatically infers the possibility of significant climate shocks.

The Committee on Climate Change and the Adaptation Committee do a superb job of integrating both agendas.

I hope the Environment Agency’s goal to become a net-zero organisation by 2030, will also demonstrate how to do both at the same time.

And, the joining of the FCO and DFID is an opportunity to improve these links in Government.

As we know, countries most vulnerable to climate risk often criticise developed nations for being too focussed on reducing emissions, rather than helping them prepare.

The new FCDO potentially means we can better unite work to enhance the world’s green economy, with helping our neighbours prepare for the humanitarian impacts of climate change.

Last week, Dr Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, Bangladesh, commended the UK’s push to begin a “race to zero emissions” at COP26, and suggested:

“There could also be a race to zero vulnerability of every country by 2030 as an equivalent to the race to zero emissions.”

Treating mitigation and adaptation as two sides of the same coin is key to the success of the green recovery from coronavirus…

…and also the UK’s ability to inspire a game-changing international agreement at COP26.

Here in England, the Environment Agency has been criticised for saying we are helping the country prepare for 4 degrees of global warming.

The accusation is that we are suggesting such a future will be manageable, and so we are protecting the status quo by overstating our abilities.

Today’s conference feels like an appropriate place to address that.

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said we have 12 years to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Last year, the insurance giant Aviva measured investments in its equities portfolios against the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement, and found they are on track for a 3.4 degree rise.

As a result, they have announced a new 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target for their auto-enrolment default pension funds.

And they should be applauded for that leadership.

But, distressingly, their analysis – calculated using Carbon Delta’s warming potential metric – said the FTSE 100 index as a whole is heading towards 3.9 degrees.

To be reductive, my view is this:

No government or government agency can possibly know what the status quo looks like in either a 1.5 degree or even a 3.9 degree world… but if we don’t take significant action to both reduce emissions and adapt right now, we’re on a hiding to nothing.

Even though the Environment Agency has a huge amount of practical, place based expertise to lend to this effort: it would be daft to suggest that we, or even the Government, can do this alone.

Creating a more resilient country depends on listening, collaboration and action from local communities, through national government and the private sector, to the international stage.

Last month – which (incidentally) was the warmest September on record globally – the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy finished its journey through Parliament.

Which means we can now put it into practice.

To do this we need individuals, communities, charities, businesses, farmers, land managers, and infrastructure providers, to build up the resilience of millions more homes and businesses.

This means the construction of hard flood defences, river channel maintenance and sustainable drainage systems, nature based solutions, property level resilience, and alternative land management practices…

We will work with anyone and everyone – even the beavers – to identify the best combination of measures to tackle unique risks in specific places.

Our work got a significant boost this year, when the Government announced a record £5.2bn long-term investment to accelerate flood scheme construction in England.

It is money well spent: for every £1 used to improve protection from flooding and coastal erosion, we avoid around £5 of property damages.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority say that between £29 billion and £37 billion of infrastructure projects will be brought to market in the remainder of this financial year.

If even a small portion of those investments is dedicated to resilience, the long term benefits will reward local communities as well as shareholders.

I read the other day that the wildfires in northern California have expanded beyond 1 million acres.

This means the fire can no longer be called a “megafire” but needs a new classification: it’s a “gigafire”.

Last month, the State of California joined the Coalition for Climate-Resilient Investment, launched by Alok Sharma at the UN General Assembly last year.

The CCRI is made up of businesses and organisations that now represent over 10 trillion dollars in assets.

That kind of crazy money shows that adaptation is no longer a niche topic of green finance: people in the City increasingly get it.

Just over a week ago, Storm Alex brought over a month’s worth of rain to some parts of the country… we were lucky it didn’t hit us as it did France and Italy.

But, it’s only mid-October and there’s already a lot of water in the ground.

Everyone needs to be ready this winter, so please check your flood risk and look up what to do in a flood.

The Environment Agency is ready.

During the height of the coronavirus lockdown, we developed safe ways of working enabling more than 90% of flood schemes across the country to continue.

And, consultations continue to be carried out virtually with communities.

The flood schemes will better protect people.

For example, the £11m scheme in Lancaster, ensuring that flood risk in the city is significantly reduced…

… and the £4.8m Marton West Beck scheme that will protect 485 homes in central Middlesbrough against flooding from the beck, the sea, and surface water.

Whether too much water in the form of floods; too little in the form of droughts; or poor water quality from pollution…people’s relationship with water is threatened by changes we see today.

These changes are linked, so our response should be joined up too.

It doesn’t make sense to deal with flood protection and environmental improvements in separate silos.

At the Environment Agency, these teams work closely together, sharing information and expertise…

… not to mention offices and depots…

… because it’s vital to take an integrated approach to water management in catchments.

The River Severn Partnership takes a collaborative approach to deliver resilient development in an area with low productivity but a significant rural economy.

We are working with the community, business and government to make the economy more resilient to flood and drought, while potentially giving the area an annual £11.4bn uplift.

In London, we’ve worked on an innovative regulatory approach to the new super sewer – The Thames Tideway – to help deliver an enormous infrastructure project that will not only lead to improved water quality and habitats…

… but has created 2,800 jobs in construction, will increase flood resilience, and create new riverside public spaces.

The coronavirus has held the world’s attention in 2020, but this was also a year when so many powerful storms formed over the Atlantic, the US National Hurricane Center ran out of names for them.

Adapting to multiple changes all at once can’t be done by looking at the world from one perspective.

In June, the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson wrote:

“It is imperative that the recovery from COVID-19 is completely aligned with addressing the urgency of the climate crisis.

“We need to listen to the young people, to climate-vulnerable states, to indigenous peoples, to women, to the scientists, to environmental defenders, and we need to ensure the global community is supportive of their needs, including action on the provision of climate finance.”

I hope we get our act together in this “climate decade” so we are only heading for a 1.5 degree world, but the economic analysis suggests we’re heading for a 3.9 degree world.

And yet! There are reasons to be positive, as David Attenborough and Prince William’s “Earthshot” prize will no doubt demonstrate.

I look with optimism towards a green recovery from coronavirus in which we both reduce emissions, and also adapt.

But, at the Environment Agency we don’t just hope, we’re getting on with it.

Thank you very much.

Emma Howard Boyd is Chair of the Environment Agency

Original Source: businessgreen.com

As the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) prepares to host the three-day, three-night Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination that will be broadcast online October 16 through 18, 2020, the theme we have chosen is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century,” because at no time in modern history has it been more important for all of us to take a stand and do just that.

This year, the orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the emergence of a new coronavirus has been unprecedented, and has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people.1

By mid-September 2020, there were about 29 million cases of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) reported worldwide with about 925,000 associated deaths.

The United States, the third most populated country in the world at 330 million people, had recorded over 7 million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people, which is a higher death rate per million people than Sweden,2 where health officials have refused to order masking or lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity to the virus.3,4

Overall COVID-19 Mortality Is Less Than 1%

According to the World Health Organization, the overall infection mortality rate for the new SARS coronavirus causing COVID-19 is about 0.6%,5 although some scientists say it is lower,6 while others estimate it can be as high as 1 to 2% in some parts of the world.7

Compared to Ebola with a 50% mortality rate8 or smallpox that killed 30%,9 or tuberculosis that still is a deadly disease killing 20% to 70%,10 or diphtheria at 5% to 10%,11 or the 1918 influenza pandemic with a 2.5% mortality rate,12 COVID-19 is near the bottom of the infectious diseases mortality scale with a less than 1% mortality rate in most countries.

Those at highest risk for complications and death include the elderly and those with one or more poor health conditions.13

The CDC recently reported that only 6% of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94% of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart, lung or kidney disease; high blood pressure; diabetes, or another underlying poor health condition.14 Most studies suggest it is rare for children to suffer complications and die from COVID-19.15

But seven months after the World Health Organization (WHO)16 declared a coronavirus pandemic,17 and public health officials persuaded lawmakers to turn the world upside down, a lot of people are asking questions and so are doctors who disagree with each other about the facts. Questions like:

Where did the new respiratory virus come from?

The most popular narratives about the mutated coronavirus is that it either jumped out of a bat or another animal in a Chinese wet food market18,19 or escaped out of a biohazard lab in 2019,20,21 but scientists continue to argue about which scenario is more likely.22 And this question:

If I wear a cloth facemask, does it really prevent me from getting infected with or transmitting COVID-19?

There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about whether it is a good idea for all healthy children and adults to wear cloth masks when they leave their home.23 In March 2020, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered the American public to stop buying and wearing masks because “they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus”24 and “actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” which was the position of the World Health Organization.25

But in April, the CDC walked back its “do not mask” order and urged all healthy Americans to voluntarily wear homemade cloth face coverings when entering public spaces.26

In June, the WHO was continuing to say that, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider … Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19.”27

But by June, a number of state Governors and local governments had mandated facemask wearing and an epidemic of mask shaming had begun,28,29 which led to public protests against masking mandates.30 In August, the CDC doubled down and expanded face masking directives to include all children over the age of 2,31 while the WHO warned that children under the age of 6 should not wear masks but children over age 12 should.32

So, confusion reigns. While some scientists are saying that if all healthy people are forced to wear face masks it will not stop the coronavirus pandemic and gives a dangerous and false illusion of safety,33 other scientists are demonizing the refusers, alleging that people refusing to mask up are “sociopathic” and have lower levels of empathy.34

About 30 U.S. states require masking for young children and adults who enter public spaces,35 and some states are leveling steep fines of up to $1,000 or threatening jail time for anyone who fails to comply.36

Washington state has made not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor crime37 and central Texas officials say they wish they could put people in prison for refusing to wear a mask.38 More than 50 countries in the world now require people to cover their faces when they leave home and some do fine and imprison people who go outside without wearing a mask.39

So, what about getting tested for COVID-19? The CDC says that people should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the infection. There is also an antibody test to identify whether or not you have been infected in the past.40 But lab tests are not always reliable and people are asking this logical question:

If I get a lab test, will it accurately identify if I am currently infected or have been infected with COVID-19 in the past?

Unfortunately, it’s not clear how accurate any of the tests are, especially the antibody test for past infection because the presence of antibodies may not be the only way to measure immunity.41 The best guess is that the range of reported false negative results for the nasal swab test is between 2% and 50%, and the reported false negative results for the antibody blood test is up to 30%, depending upon when during or after the infection testing is performed.42

In July, a state lab in Connecticut admitted that 90 out of 144 people tested during a 30-day period — most of them nursing home residents — were inaccurately informed they were infected because of faulty, false positive lab tests.43 In August, 77 football players in the National Football League were given false positive test results when, after retesting, all the tests came back negative.44 People are also wondering what happens after they get COVID-19, asking this question:

If I recover from COVID-19 will I only get temporary immunity or will I have long-term immunity against reinfection?

The CDC says it is unknown how long immunity lasts or whether you can get the new coronavirus infection twice.45 However, last spring researchers found that out of 68 uninfected persons, the blood from one third of them contained helper T-cells that recognized the mutated SARS coronavirus.

They concluded the presence of these defensive helper T cells gives evidence for some residual immunity that may have been produced after common cold infections caused by other types of coronaviruses. This, the scientists said, “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity.”46

Another important study was published in the medical literature in August providing evidence for robust memory T cell immune responses in people who had recovered from even mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, but had no detectable virus-specific antibodies.47

If people can have strong immune responses without symptoms and traditional antibody tests for proof of immunity don’t apply to COVID-19, public health officials may be underestimating the extent of population-level herd immunity that already exists in the U.S., where there have been more cases reported than anywhere else.

COVID-19 Public Health Laws a Public Relations Disaster

While doctors debate the science, it is becoming clearer that the response to the new coronavirus infection by government health officials has been a public relations disaster. The anxiety, fear and chaos created by regulations instituted by most governments after the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic this year has torn the fabric of societies and affected public opinion about public health laws and vaccination.48

Now the people are being told that there is one — and only one — simple solution to resolving the crisis and getting back to normal: that is, the only way we can take off our masks and touch, hug, kiss or come close to each other again49,50,51,52,53,54 is for every person living in every country to get injected with one of the liability-free COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to market.55,56,57,58,59

Governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people. The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are NOT buying it. Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40% and 70% of people living in the U.S. and Europe do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed.

In April, WHO officials at the United Nations launched a global initiative “to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” proclaiming that “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”60 By May, they were warning that if every person in the world doesn’t get injected with a COVID-19 vaccination, the virus “may never go away.”61 

The WHO,62 U.S. government63,64,65,66 and lawmakers in the European Union,67 along with wealthy and politically powerful nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like the Gates Foundation,68,69,70 GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance,71 and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)72 have given the pharmaceutical industry tens of billions of dollars to develop and fast-track experimental coronavirus vaccines to market and promote their universal use.73,74

At the same time, governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people.75,76 The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are NOT buying it.

People Are Rejecting the COVID-19 Vaccine Sales Pitch

Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40% and 70% of people living in the U.S. and Europe do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed.77,78,79,80,81,82 Populations in developed countries are resisting the siren call for “solidarity,” as doubt about COVID-19 vaccines is becoming more common in developing counties, too.83

The pushback by a wary public has taken government officials by surprise. Apparently, they were banking that the economic and social deprivation, fear and chaos surrounding lockdowns would produce a bull market for experimental mRNA and DNA COVID-19 vaccines using technology that never has been licensed for humans.84

It is widely acknowledged now that a solid two-thirds of Americans or more will “just say no” to getting injected with a vaccine containing lab altered parts of a new coronavirus that scientists admit they still don’t know much about,85 vaccines that preliminary clinical trials have revealed may well cause more than just a few minor reactions.86 

A frustrated top U.S. health official has name-called Americans who refuse to go along with public health policies and laws, calling them “anti-science” and “anti-authority.”87,88 The truth is, people in this country and many others just don’t have confidence in the quality and quantity of the science or government health officials they are being told to trust.89

Angry that a growing number of people are reluctant to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine that is being rushed to market at “warp speed,” public health officials,90 billionaire Silicon Valley technocrats,91,92,93 doctors, attorneys and bioethics professors94,95,96,97,98 and politicians99 are beating the drum for swift enactment of “no exceptions” mandatory vaccination laws as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are licensed.100

Already, some cheerleaders at leading universities are banging that drum for approving and using experimental COVID-19 vaccines even before testing is done,101 and are calling for young, healthy people to be the first to get the vaccine because it is their “civic duty” to protect everyone else.102

They warn that “herd immunity may not be achieved if people refuse to take the coronavirus vaccine,”103,104 and say that, in order to keep society “safe,” laws must be passed to threaten and coerce you and your minor children to get vaccinated or face crippling social sanctions that will effectively take away your liberty and destroy your life.105

People in US and Other Nations Rise to Defend Freedom

This summer, huge public demonstrations defending freedom in Berlin,106 London,107 Paris108 and Copenhagen saw tens of thousands of citizens gather to protest masking109 and other oppressive coronavirus lockdown policies, which have severely restricted normal physical contact between people, caused widespread unemployment,110 and harmed their physical, mental and emotional health.111

Like in Europe, people living in Canada,112 Australia113,114 and New Zealand115 also are resisting months of social distancing policies that have eliminated fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

The U.S. has seen similar but smaller public demonstrations opposing forced masking, social distancing and lockdown laws and defending freedom in Virginia,116 Pennsylvania,117 Wisconsin,118 Michigan,119 California120 and other states, as record numbers of Americans struggle with unemployment,121,122 the destruction of small middle class businesses,123 mortgage defaults124 and bankruptcy filings;125 steep increases in anxiety and depression,126,127 drug and alcohol addiction,128 child and spousal abuse,129 and divorce.130

Social Sanctions for Failure to Get Vaccinated May Align With Lockdown Sanctions

The punishing social sanctions being talked about if you refuse a COVID-19 vaccination are likely to be enforced using government-operated electronic tracking systems linked to digital “immunity passports” that require you to “prove” you are immune to the new SARS coronavirus before you are allowed to work in an office building or enter other public spaces.131,132,133,134

These social sanctions for failure to vaccinate may closely resemble the types of social interaction restrictions enforced in the U.S. and other countries over the past year.

In the U.S., most public health laws, including vaccine laws, are enacted by the states,135 while the federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and can mandate vaccines for people crossing national or state borders. Local city and county governments also can impose their own public health regulations.136 That is why some states and cities have seen very restrictive COVID-19 pandemic masking137 and lockdown regulations138 and others have been more open.139

So, whether or not you will be punished for refusing to get a COVID-19 shot next year primarily will be determined by your state’s governor and the representatives who have been elected to make laws in your state capitol.140

Depending upon where you live and the political philosophy of the majority of representatives in your state legislature, after the COVID-19 vaccine is licensed by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the CDC for use by all children and adults,141 if you refuse to get a COVID-19 shot, you could be blocked from:142

Being employed and going to work in an office

Getting an education

Obtaining a driver’s license or passport

Boarding a train or other public transportation

Attending a sports game or concert

Entering a store, restaurant, bar, coffee shop or nail salon

Booking an appointment with a doctor

And you could be prohibited from checking into a hospital for surgery, or visiting a family member in a nursing home, or blocked from obtaining private health insurance and Medicaid or Medicare.

In other words, if you refuse to get a coronavirus vaccination, you could be subjected to the kinds of punitive social sanctions I have been predicting and publicly warned about since 1997,143,144,145,146 sanctions that are already being applied to Americans who decline to get or give their children dozens of doses of CDC “recommended” liability-free vaccines147 and already are being denied an education, medical care and employment.148,149

Broken Promises Leads to Broken Trust

Doctors and public health officials wondering why people don’t trust what they say about infectious diseases and vaccination, including coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, only have to look in the mirror to answer the question.

Since 1982, parents of vaccine injured children have been begging doctors to do the kind of science that will explain why so many highly-vaccinated children, who don’t get measles or chicken pox anymore, are stuck on sick and suffering with brain and autoimmune disorders that never go away.150 For four decades, we have been asking doctors and government health officials to stop sweeping casualties of inhumane one-size-fits all vaccine policies, under the rug.151

What we get from medical professors in universities receiving lots of money from the government and pharmaceutical companies, and from doctors developing vaccines, and from public health officials pushing “no exceptions” vaccination policies are threats, name-calling, bullying and punishment if we try to exercise informed consent to vaccination.152,153,154 There is no other word for it but abuse.

They order us to obey them but refuse to take responsibility for what happens when we obey the orders they give. They expect us to trust them and refuse to care about the victims of vaccination when the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

Instead, they act to protect the power and profit-making of their business partners: the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade associations, multinational media corporations and Silicon Valley billionaires, and leave vaccine victims to take care of themselves. What’s trust got to do with it?

Broken trust has everything to do with why the majority of people in the U.S. and Europe do not want to roll the dice and find out whether the odds of surviving a COVID-19 vaccination are in their favor.

It is during this extraordinary time of great challenge and opportunity that NVIC is sponsoring the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination. Our conference will create an expanded base of knowledge about vaccine science, policy, law and ethics brought to you by more than 40 distinguished speakers, who will empower you with information you need to become an effective vaccine freedom advocate.

Go to NVIC.org and register today for this historic conference celebrating freedom of thought, speech and conscience and gain permanent online access to this valuable video library of information. It’s your health, your family, your choice. And our mission continues: No forced vaccination, not in America.

Original Source: articles.mercola.com