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5 people who were bloody amazing during “self-quarantine”

Jack Burton

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5 people who were bloody amazing during “self-quarantine” | The Thaiger
IMAGE: The Daily Beast
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Life in Thailand has changed rapidly since the WHO declared the Covid-19 coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. Offices have closed, public spaces have emptied, and the nation is in a state of national emergency, effective tomorrow. People are urged to to stay home and “self-isoltate” to the extent possible. Many have suddenly found themselves, to put it charitably, “with more free time” (at least the ones without kids home from school to take care of) and limited ways to spend it.

  • Stay at home
  • Apply rigorous social distancing, about 2 metres, at all times
  • Wash your hands regularly and be vigilant with your personal hygiene
  • Stock up now on vital medications
  • Keep abreast of all your local news and restrictions

Isolation or quarantine is a great time to prioritise your mental and physical well being, but if you also want to use it to be productive, there are plenty of historical role models to choose from. Willy Shakes (that’s Shakespeare to the unfamiliar) wasn’t the only person who produced some of his best work during a pandemic. The Thaiger presents some other great thinkers and artists who used “social distancing” to their advantage during other world moments when the bugs were taking over.

William Shakespeare: Okay, we mentioned Bill already, but “William Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine” is exactly the type of exaggerated crap you’d expect to see during a wild news cycle. But weirdly, this particular viral tidbit is rooted in truth. Shakespeare was an actor and shareholder with The King’s Men theatre troupe when the bubonic plague forced London theatres to close in the early 1600s.

The official rule was that after weeks, when the death toll exceeded 30, public playhouses had to shut down. This meant that the theatre industry was paralysed for much of 1606 when the plague returned to the city. Suddenly finding himself without a job and with lots of free time on his hands, Shakespeare got to writing. He composed King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony & Cleopatra, all before the year was over.

Isaac Newton: A few decades after an isolated Shakespeare wrote some of his most famous plays, Isaac Newton found himself in a similar spot. In 1665, when he was in his early 20s, one of the last major outbreaks of the bubonic plague hit the country. Classes at Cambridge University were cancelled, so Newton went to his family estate roughly 96 kilometres away to continue his studies. He didn’t have to worry about responding to professors’ emails or videoconferencing classes, and with zero structure, he excelled.

The brilliant young mathematician produced some of his best work during that year in quarantine, writing the papers that would become early forms of calculus and developing his theories on optics while playing with prisms in his bedroom. This was also the time when his theory of gravity was borne. While an apple likely never fell and hit Newton on the head, there was in fact an apple tree outside his window that may have inspired his revelation.

5 people who were bloody amazing during

Edvard Munch:The Scream painter Edvard Munch didn’t just witness the Spanish Flu pandemic change the world around him, he contracted the disease around the beginning of 1919, while living in Norway. But rather than becoming one of its many victims, Munch lived and continued making great art. As soon as he was able, he gathered his painting supplies and began capturing his physical state. Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu shows him with thinning hair and a gaunt face sitting in front of his sickbed.

5 people who were bloody amazing during

Thomas Nashe: Nashe was an Elizabethan playwright who gained fame around the same time as William Shakespeare. When the bubonic plague hit London in 1592, Nashe fled to the countryside to avoid infection. This was when he wrote Summers’ Last Will and Testament, a play that reflects his experiences living through the pandemic. One passage reads:

“Adieu, farewell earths blisse,
This world uncertaine is,
Fond are lifes lustful joyes,
Death proves them all but toyes,
None from his darts can flye;
I am sick, I must dye:
Lord, have mercy on us.”

Giovanni Boccaccio: Florentine writer and poet Boccaccio was personally affected by the plague. When it hit Florence in 1348, both his father and stepmother became victims. Boccaccio survived by fleeing the city and hiding out in Tuscany. During this period, he wrote The Decameron, a collection of tales framed as stories a group of friends tell each other while quarantined inside a villa during the plague.

5 people who were bloody amazing during

Image: Giovanni Boccaccio 1313-1375. Italian writer and poet – The Article

The Thaiger has already suggested a few ways you might spend your unexpected “me time” as the coronavirus crisis unfolds, and as the days and weeks progress, we’ll keep sharing.

What pieces of memorable art, maths, science or literature can you produce during your imposed isolation?

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Norway adjusts advice after 28 possible vaccine-related deaths of elderly people

The Thaiger

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Norway adjusts advice after 28 possible vaccine-related deaths of elderly people | The Thaiger

The deaths of 23 elderly people are being investigated after dying a short time of receiving their first Covid-19 vaccine in Norway. Apart from the 23 deaths, medical officials are also reporting several people falling ill after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

At this stage there has been no direct correlation between the people’s deaths and inoculation wit the Pfizer vaccine, but medical officials report that 13 out of 23 people who died showed “common side effects of mRNA vaccines” such as “diarrhea, nausea and fever”.

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies – cdc.gov

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has taken the action of cautioning against vaccinating elderly people above 80 years of age saying “those with a short life span may not benefit much from the jab”.

“For those with the most severe frailty, even relatively mild vaccine side effects can have serious consequences.”

“The agency listed fever and nausea as side effects which may have led to the deaths of some frail patients.”

Earlier this week, the Public Health authority noted that “any side effects of the vaccine will be outweighed by a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 for elderly, frail people.”

Steinar Madsen, the medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, says that it may be a coincidence, “but we aren’t sure”.

Pfizer and BioNTech are actively working with the Norwegian authorities to investigate the death.

“The regulator discovered the number of incidents so far is not alarming and in line with expectations.”

But experts are of “the strong opinion” that doctors need to exercise caution in vaccinating people in the wake of the deaths of the 23 elderly people. The Norwegian Medicines Agency also reported that 21 women and 8 men reported side effects. Apart from the 23 deaths, 9 people have reported “serious side effects” without fatal outcomes such as “allergic reactions, strong discomfort and severe fever. Seven people reported less serious side effects such as severe pain at the injection site”.

Norwegian medical staff had administered at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines to approximately 33,000 people as of the end of December.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned

Maya Taylor

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Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

“I’ll go first!”

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has repeated his pledge to be the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, in a bid to allay people’s concerns. Questions have been raised about the Chinese-manufactured Sinovac Biotech jab after its effectiveness rating was revised downwards by researchers in Brazil.

Anutin Charnvirakul says the vaccine process will be overseen by Sophon Mekthon from the Ministry of Public Health and all safety criteria will be met. The Pattaya News reports that the minister says he has confidence in the safety of the vaccine and is willing to prove it by being the first person to get the jab. It’s not the first time he has made this suggestion but there has been no official confirmation that the Health Minister will be first in line.

Thailand has ordered 2 million doses of the vaccine, with the first 200,000 expected to arrive next month. The government has also ordered 26 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University but is not expected to take delivery of that vaccine until the middle of the year.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya City mayor planning local rollout of Covid-19 vaccine

Maya Taylor

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Pattaya City mayor planning local rollout of Covid-19 vaccine | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The mayor of Pattaya city says officials hope to be able to buy 240,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for administration to local residents. Sonthaya Khunpluem is reviewing finances and plans to set aside approximately 80 million baht for vaccine procurement, subject to government approval.

“Currently, house registration of Pattaya City has reached a total population of 120,000 people, then we would need about 240,000 shots of the vaccine. If the price of the supplied vaccine was approximately 300 baht, Pattaya would need a budget of at least 72 million baht in order to cover all the residents in the city.”

The move comes following confirmation from the government that local authorities could purchase their own vaccines in order to speed up the process. A number of other local authorities have also said they intend to do the same. The government has stipulated that only vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration can be purchased.

Sonthaya hopes that by vaccinating Pattaya residents, tourism in the area could get a boost and the economic recovery could begin. The Pattaya News reports that officials from the Pattaya City Finance Office and other relevant agencies have met to review projects planned for the year ahead, to determine Pattaya’s spending power for buying vaccines.

It’s understood the vaccine would be offered to local residents for free, but what is not known is if that includes foreign residents. Officials have also not confirmed when the rollout is expected to begin, or which vaccine would be used.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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