Sanders Rips Trump's Push to Rush COVID Vaccine
By Jake Johnson
After President Donald Trump on Monday suggested a COVID-19 vaccine could be fully developed and put to market "before a very special day" — apparently referring to the Nov. 3 presidential election — Sen. Bernie Sanders warned that Trump's ongoing politicization of the vaccine process threatens to undermine public trust and safety.
"I think you got a president who's losing it, and I think most people are sick and tired of the ranting and the ravings of Donald Trump," the Vermont senator said in an appearance on CNN late Monday. "Look, everybody wants a vaccine, but we want to make sure that that vaccine is safe. We don't want to see that vaccine put on the market for political reasons."
Sanders went on to urge doctors, scientists, and pharmaceutical companies to "do the right thing and get it onto the market, get it into people's arms when it is ready, not when it suits the political purposes of this increasingly irrational president."
"Let's not politicize this thing. We have developed vaccines for decade after decade after decade. We have to give the resources to the doctors and the scientists to do their work," Sanders said. "We've got to make sure that vaccine undergoes the clinical trials that [are] necessary to make sure that it is safe."
“Let's not politicize this thing,” Sen. Bernie Sanders says about the coronavirus vaccine. “We have developed vaccines for decade after decade after decade. We have to give the resources to the doctors and the scientists to do their work." https://t.co/GqSF5xfRbd pic.twitter.com/jwJVMQo12i— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) September 7, 2020
The Vermont senator's remarks came hours after Trump claimed during a Labor Day press conference Monday that "we're going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special day."
Asked whether he's pushing for speedy approval of a coronavirus vaccine for political gain, Trump said: "No, I'm saying that because we want to save a lot of lives. With me, it's the faster the better. With somebody else, maybe they would say it politically but I'm saying it in terms of this is what we need."
"Now," Trump continued, "do benefits inure if you're able to get something years ahead of schedule? I guess maybe they do."
"The faster, the better" -- Trump on a coronavirus vaccine pic.twitter.com/Lc83qixbp3— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 7, 2020
Federal officials have repeatedly cast doubt on the president's suggested timeline, saying there's little chance that a sufficiently tested vaccine will be ready ahead of the November election.
"I don't know any scientist involved in this effort who thinks we will be getting shots into arms any time before Election Day," one anonymous federal official familiar with Operation Warp Speed told CNN Monday, echoing the public statements of other officials involved with the vaccine development effort.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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