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COVID-19 pandemic was a "preventable disaster," WHO-commissioned report says

The COVID-19 pandemic was a "preventable disaster" that exposed weak links "at every point" of the preparedness process, according to a World Health Organization-commissioned report published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response criticized governments worldwide for being unprepared for the pandemic despite the prevalence of past "global health threats," such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS outbreaks.


The big picture: The report states that the world's response to the emergence of COVID-19 was "too slow" and "too meek," and that the WHO was "underpowered."

  • "Global political leadership was absent," it adds.
  • The report also says that February 2020 was a "lost month" when governments should have taken action to prevent the epidemic from developing into a pandemic.
  • "COVID-19 is the 21st century’s Chernobyl moment—not because a disease outbreak is like a nuclear accident, but because it has shown so clearly the gravity of the threat to our health and well-being."

To end the ongoing pandemic, the panel recommends that...

  • Richer countries provide "at least 1 billion" vaccine doses to poor and middle-income nations;
  • The World Trade Organization and WHO get vaccine-producing countries "to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfer for COVID-19 vaccines";
  • Nations scale up the access of COVID-19 tests and therapeutics.

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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