A counterlife without the pandemic? Try the fictional take

by Rashmee

Posted on November 28, 2020


In Emily St John Mandel’s ‘The Glass Hotel’, a young female protagonist, Vincent Smith, imagines multiple counterfactual histories, including one in which the swine flu “hadn’t been swiftly contained.” The omniscient narrator then notes: “She [Vincent] could only play this game for so long before she was overcome by a kind of vertigo and had … Continue reading “A counterlife without the pandemic? Try the fictional take”

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We shouldn’t be grading ‘mass casualty events’ such as pandemics and world wars together

by Rashmee

Posted on October 14, 2020


I was very struck by the following rundown on so-called mass casualty events in the past hundred years. That’s a euphemism if there ever was one. A mass casualty event aka something that caused hundreds of thousands to die. Anyway, Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent of The New York Times, tweeted the toll. It … Continue reading “We shouldn’t be grading ‘mass casualty events’ such as pandemics and world wars together”

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There’s Senegal and then there’s Donald Trump’s America

by Rashmee

Posted on October 5, 2020


It is a stark , a startling and unsettling contrast. On the western edge of the mighty African continent, there is small Senegal, just under 200,000 sq km, with a GDP per capita of $2,700 and healthcare expenditure of less than 5 per cent of GDP. Oh, and nearly half its population of 14.7 million … Continue reading “There’s Senegal and then there’s Donald Trump’s America”

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Margaret Ferrier, the Typhoid Mary of the 21st century?

by Rashmee

Posted on October 3, 2020


Is Margaret Ferrier the Typhoid Mary of the 21st century? At first glance the question sounds ludicrous. The two women could not be more dissimilar. Ms Ferrier is a Scottish member of the British parliament. Mary Mallon, aka Typhoid Mary, was an Irish cook who immigrated to the United States. The two women are separated … Continue reading “Margaret Ferrier, the Typhoid Mary of the 21st century?”

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Back to school vs back to gym: England’s interrupted rhythms of life

by Rashmee

Posted on August 27, 2020


Those making their way back to the gym for the first time since March 11, when the WHO declared a pandemic, may probably feel more sanguine than parents looking to soon despatch their children to school in England. Gyms, by all account, have done a pretty good job of making themselves Covid-19 safe. They’ve introduced … Continue reading “Back to school vs back to gym: England’s interrupted rhythms of life”

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Does the centre-left have the ideological flexibility to take power?

by Rashmee

Posted on July 18, 2020


In the days before the coronavirus epidemic struck, there was a growing sense that the centre-left  in the US and UK was no longer ready for change, that it was too broad-minded, as poet Robert Frost once said, to take its own side in an argument. The pandemic is changing things. Ideas normally considered socialist … Continue reading “Does the centre-left have the ideological flexibility to take power?”

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From America first to America last, or perhaps to America not at all

by Rashmee

Posted on July 7, 2020 / The Focus


It was Donald Trump’s main political rival Joe Biden who identified the main problem now faced by the United States. It’s gone from America first to America last. Or perhaps to America not at all. Biden told Washington Post columnist Greg Sargeant, in reference to the European Union’s ban on American visitors as a pandemic-era … Continue reading “From America first to America last, or perhaps to America not at all”

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The moral case for the world to have access to covid-19 drug

by Rashmee

Posted on July 4, 2020 / The Focus


As someone with a vested interest in Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the covid-19 drug remdesivir, I’m looking for a return on investment that’s not encashable. Remdesivir is not a cure for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. But it is one of only two drugs proven to help people recover … Continue reading “The moral case for the world to have access to covid-19 drug”

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Why the Leicester coronavirus flare-up matters

by Rashmee

Posted on June 28, 2020 / The Focus


Pay attention to the Leicester flare-up in coronavirus cases. Both the reasons for the surge in infections and the response. Three reasons are under consideration in order to explain the 658 coronavirus cases in the Leicester area in the fortnight to 16 June. First, the city’s food production industry. The East Midlands’ largest city has … Continue reading “Why the Leicester coronavirus flare-up matters”

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The strange case of Europe’s early coronavirus sightings

by Rashmee

Posted on June 20, 2020 / The Focus


Did SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the covid-19 disease, really start to make its deadly way around the world from Wuhan, China? That’s what much of the world says but China, quite naturally, has cast doubt on the sequence of events. There has, however, but been considerable pushback to Chinese attempts to deny responsibility. … Continue reading “The strange case of Europe’s early coronavirus sightings”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK