Cuba Begins COVID Vaccine Trial
Cuba is set to begin its first clinical trial for a COVID19 vaccine on August 24. The trial, named SOBERANA 01, is on phase I and II and involves 676 volunteers between the ages of 19 and 80. The trial is registered by a state-run science center in Havana dedicated to the research and manufacture of vaccines. The clinical trial is expected to be completed on January 11, 2021, and the first data will be published on February 15, 2021. The President of the Vaccine Institute Vicente Vérez noted that Cuba is the first country in the underdeveloped world to reach this point. "If you look at the other 29 vaccines in clinical trials, it belongs to rich countries, mainly five rich countries, so getting to this point is a reason to be proud.”
Teachers in Spain Call Strike
Just like many teachers here in the U.S., teachers in Spain are preparing to go on strike ahead of in-person school reopenings scheduled to take place in the autonomous regions of Madrid, Aragon and Euskal Herria. In total, these regions account for 70% of Spain’s coronavirus cases. Teachers' organizations say that the protocols for students returning to schools are not clear, that the schools do not have the proper facilities and PPE, the number of students per classroom is too high, and there is a lack of tests. Sound familiar? The teacher protests are planned to go from September 4th through the10th.
US Unemployment Claims Rise
Corporate media outlets pitched last week’s unemployment claims as a positive because “only” 963,000 people filed for the first time, which was the lowest weekly total since the start of the pandemic. In any other year, that 963,000 would have been the biggest one-week unemployment spike in U.S. history, and during the Great Recession of 2008 new filings never hit 700,000. Well, this week, the number went back up to 1.1 million claims and that is on top of the 30 million already unemployed workers.
CA ICE Facility Refuses to Test Detainees
Internal emails released in a lawsuit against ICE reveal that the agency refused to test detainees to get around reducing the number of people detained in a California facility. When the for-profit, private detention center at the Mesa Verde found out that a detainee had tested positive for COVID19, it could have tested everyone potentially exposed but chose not to, knowing that to make room for positive cases, they would need to significantly reduce the total number of detainees. This corresponds with reports that ICE facilities in Adelanto that have received thousands of COVID test kits but refused to use them on those showing symptoms.
Lyft and Uber Threaten Shut Down Over Worker Benefits
An appeals judge in California temporarily blocked an order requiring Uber and Lyft to classify its drivers as employees, dodging an anticipated shutdown of the ride-sharing apps. California lawmaker’s passed Assembly Bill 5 to reclassify so-called gig workers as employees rather than independent contractors. Employees are entitled to minimum wage, paid time off, health insurance and have the right to collectively bargain and form unions. Both Uber and Lyft threatened to completely shut down services in defiance of the law. Cities in California, including San Jose, Los Angeles, and the Bay area, top the list of the most profitable places for these services. So, these companies would rather lose millions of dollars than pay its workers a living wage and open the possibility and the precedent of unionization.