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Coronavirus Reinfections Are Confirmed in the Netherlands and Belgium
A patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium have been reinfected with the coronavirus, Dutch media reported Tuesday, following reports that scientists in Hong Kong had confirmed the first known reinfection.
The Dutch patient was an older person with a weakened immune system, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported, citing virologist Marion Koopmans.
Koopsmans said it was more common for people to remain infected with the virus for a long time, but with mild symptoms, before it suddenly flares up again. A reinfection — as is the case with the Dutch and Belgian cases — requires genetic testing in both the first and second instances of infection to see whether there are differences in the virus present, Koopmans said.
"That someone would pop up with a reinfection, it doesn't make me nervous," she said. "We have to see whether it happens often."
Belgian Case 'Not Good News'
The Belgian patient displayed only mild symptoms, NOS reported, citing virologist Marc Van Ranst. "It's not good news," Ranst said.
The development shows that the antibodies the patient developed in the first case were not strong enough to fend off an infection from a slightly different variant of the virus, he said.
It is not clear if this is a rare phenomenon or if there are "many more people who could have a reinfection after six or seven months," he said.
First Reinfection Confirmed in Hong Kong
The European developments follow Monday reports of the first confirmed coronavirus reinfection, a man in Hong Kong.
The 33-year-old, who was infected with the virus in March, returned in mid-August from a trip to Spain infected with a different strain.
"COVID-19 patients should not assume after they recover that they won't get infected again," said Kelvin Kai-Wang To, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong.
"It shows that some people do not have lifelong immunity" to the virus even if they've already been infected, To said.
Some experts see the news as a positive development. "If there is a reinfection, it suggests the possibility there was residual immunity ... that helped protect the patient" from getting sick again, said Jesse Goodman, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief scientist, now at Georgetown University, responding to the Hong Kong case.
The Hong Kong patient did not display any symptoms during his most recent infection.
Implications for Vaccine Development
The possibility of reinfection has implications for the global race to develop a vaccine and for key decisions on when people return to school and work.
Speaking on the Hong Kong case, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine microbiologist Brendan Wren said the case was "a very rare example of reinfection and it should not negate the global drive to develop COVID-19 vaccines."
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
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By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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