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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

Saturn, an alligator who, according to legend, once belonged to Adolf Hitler, died in a Russian zoo.

A doctor involved in testing a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the biotech company Moderna said he was “cautiously optimistic” that it would be available by the end of the year; an early-stage trial of a Chinese vaccine showed “promising” results; Thailand’s government said that it hoped to distribute an inexpensive vaccine throughout Southeast Asia next year, in an attempt to avert a global shortage; the U.S. national security adviser vowed that the United States would be the first country to develop an effective vaccine and other treatments for the coronavirus and would then “share them with the world”; and a researcher at Oxford University—whose vaccine study may be discontinued because of decreasing infection rates in the United Kingdom—said, of other countries developing a vaccine on the basis of their work, “We might feel a little peculiar about that. We got there first, but everyone else piles in. We might feel that we’ve done the heavy lifting. But actually we wouldn’t care.”1 2 3 4 5 Surveys found that only 50 percent of Americans intend to get a future vaccine and 44 percent of Republicans believe that “Bill Gates wants to use a national mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 to implant microchips in people that would be used to track people with a digital I.D. number.”6 The White House confirmed that President Trump has been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which the FDA has warned can cause cardiac problems and has cautioned should not be used outside clinical trials or hospitals, and a Wisconsin woman who had been taking the drug for 19 years to treat lupus was diagnosed with COVID-19.7 8 Trump’s press secretary accidentally revealed his private bank-account information and routing numbers after displaying a $100,000 check Trump had made out to the Department of Health and Human Services to support coronavirus efforts.9

During a visit to a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan, Trump congratulated the Ford family—descendants of the notoriously anti-Semitic Henry Ford, who received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from the Nazis in 1938—on having “good bloodlines”; Volkswagen, a company founded by the German Labor Front in 1937, apologized for a video advertisement in which a giant white hand shoves a black man onto a sidewalk, another flicks him into a restaurant called Le Petit Colon (“The Little Colonist”), and an animated slogan appears to spell out a German racial slur; and Saturn, an alligator who, according to legend, once belonged to Adolf Hitler, died in a Russian zoo.10 11 12 13 “Animals are not involved in war and politics, and it is absurd to blame them for human sins,” said a spokesperson for the zoo. A new set of Nazca Lines was discovered in Peru depicting a part-human, part-orca creature brandishing a human head.14 The Aldabra rail, a flightless bird native to an island in the Indian Ocean, was found to have re-evolved itself back into existence.15 Medical personnel in Trinidad and Tobago had to delay the resumption of elective surgeries because a monkey was found in an operating room; the CDC warned of increased “unusual or aggressive rodent behavior” as a result of shuttered restaurants no longer generating food waste; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture rushed to distribute vaccines against Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus Serotype 2 to veterinarians.16 17 18 “The biggest risk to rabbits is if they are outside or they have any outdoor playtime,” said the executive director of the House Rabbit Society. Beaches across much of the United States were packed for Memorial Day weekend festivities.19 “It was absolutely fabulous. It looks like America’s opening up,” said one beachgoer in Alabama. “There are literally thousands of people out here on the beach.”20

Dominic Cummings, one of Boris Johnson’s senior advisers, admitted to having violated the British government’s ban on nonessential travel by driving 264 miles from London to Durham with his wife while both were displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and then making a further trip to Barnard Castle, which he undertook, he explained, to test his eyesight.21 North Korea’s state newspaper denied that members of the Kim dynasty are capable of chukjibeop, a method of contracting vast distances and traveling across them almost instantaneously.22 The Thai government considered allowing massage shops to reopen, provided they operate only from the waist down.23 Increased sales of portable toilet devices suggested that Americans were avoiding public restrooms.24 The mayor of Tantará, Peru, was arrested after breaking the town’s curfew to go drinking and then lying down in a coffin and pretending to be a deceased victim of the coronavirus; a Polish man was charged with animal cruelty and violating COVID-19 regulations by not wearing a face mask after he leaped into a zoo enclosure and wrestled a bear; a man in Michigan was arrested after plotting to steal a Coast Guard helicopter, attack a police station, cut power to a hospital, and release all of its COVID-19 patients; and firefighters in the Western Lakes Fire District of Wisconsin apologized for issuing a warning falsely suggesting that hand sanitizer left in a hot car might spontaneously combust.25 26 27 28 The founder of the Clap for Carers movement in the United Kingdom said that it was time to stop applauding essential workers each Thursday.29

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