In the News: Week of February 23rd

What happened in the world from February 23rd - 29th

Happy Sunday morning everyone! It was a wild week in the news; this week we witnessed the continued rise of the coronavirus, the worst week on Wall Street since 2008, and we had a presidential primary on Saturday. Oh, and the longest war in American history might finally be over.

In the news this week

Coronavirus continued to spread and the stock market started to drop. The S&P 500 dropped more than 10% this week as fears of coronavirus spreading across the globe became more of an inevitable reality. China has seen a drastic slowdown in new cases, almost certainly due to their unprecedented quarantine measures, but Iran, Italy, and South Korea have all seen an explosion in cases over the last week. The first case without an obvious link to an infected person or China appeared in California, a sign that the virus is spreading in communities in the U.S. from person-to-person. The prime minister of Japan asked all Japanese schools to close for a month on Thursday, and similar measures may soon be taken in countries around the world, including European countries and the United States.

The 10th Democratic debate of this primary season took place in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday. Unlike the last debate, there were no clear winners or losers on the stage. Joe Biden had a strong night; he guaranteed a win Saturday in South Carolina and showed passion and fire that voters have been looking for since he entered the race. Mike Bloomberg didn’t look terrible, which is all you can really hope for at this point if you’re part of the Bloomberg campaign. Bernie Sanders took attacks from nearly every other candidate on the stage about past comments complimenting countries like Cuba and some of his policies such as Medicare For All, but had solid defenses. Sanders pointed out that former president Obama made similar comments in the past regarding Cuban education and healthcare. Speaking of healthcare, two of Sanders’s closest competitors, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, have taken the more money than any other U.S. politician from the insurance, finance, and real estate sector, each raking in over $4 million since 2019. This might explain their incessant desire to attack policies like Medicare For All.

Joe Biden won big in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, his first victory so far in the 2020 primary race. There’s no obvious reason for Biden’s sudden surge and show of strength, as he has been struggling in national polls and lost by a wide margin last weekend in Nevada. Biden is likely benefitting from the barrage of negative media coverage that Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders have recently received. His win couldn’t come at a better time, as Super Tuesday is now only two days away. A strong showing by Biden Tuesday could cement him as the moderate frontrunner and turn the Democratic primary into a two-man race. With many Democratic superdelegates now openly admitting that they’ll do whatever it takes to stop Sanders - even if he wins a plurality of pledged delegates - Biden may not even need the most votes to capture the nomination.

The U.S. signed an agreement Saturday for the final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which would bring an end to America’s longest war. The U.S. entered the region shortly after 9/11 and will exit the country without much to show for their efforts. In order for the U.S. to withdraw the remaining 12,000 troops, the Taliban will be forced to sever ties with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan cost about $2 trillion and took tens of thousands of American and Afghan lives.

Headline of the Week: An Indonesian official claimed swimming with men can cause pregnancy

The official said that certain men who have very strong sperm can impregnate women who happen to be in the same pool as them without penetration. Fortunately for women who like to swim in public pools, this is a myth. She has since retracted her statements and urged the public not to continue the spread of her misinformation, which is a sign that at least one person on earth can admit when they’re wrong and accept new information.

Recommended Reading: ‘I brainwashed myself with the internet’

Doctors have been known to downplay women’s health concerns. Many women are turning to online communities for advice instead of their doctor, for various reasons; some due to lack of access, others due to distrust of a system that often ignores their concerns and needs. Advice on the internet can be a great thing, but the advice is only as helpful as the person on the other end of the keyboard.

Anyone can give advice on any subject, no matter how qualified they are and how helpful or harmful their advice can be. This is the story of one woman who was convinced that her nurses and doctors were wrong and that everyone giving her advice on the internet was right. She wanted a ‘freebirth’ with no doctors or medical professionals present. Her due date came and went, and it wasn’t until she was nearly 45 weeks pregnant that she went into labor. Shortly after her water broke, she recognized she needed professional help. Her husband drove her to a nearby hospital where her baby was stillborn. 

She shared her story in the hopes that it may keep other women from going through what she went through. We tend to believe what we want to believe; in this case, a woman who wanted a natural home birth believed it was the best option, and safer than delivering at a hospital. Like many of the online communities she belonged to, she was strongly against inducing labor.

She didn’t know who to believe. Doctors, nurses, and friends told her one thing, but the advice of her online friends was completely different. Unfortunately she didn’t know she made the wrong decision until it was too late.

When it comes to important medical decisions, it’s always best to trust medical professionals rather than friends and acquaintances, online or in real life. Many women don’t trust their doctor, and they often turn to the internet for medical advice. It is unacceptable that only 34% of Americans trust their medical professionals. To combat this problem, we need to improve access to and affordability of medical care. We need a healthcare system that is motivated to care for patients, not increase profits. Everyone deserves to have a doctor they trust, and I think it would go a long way in solving some of our most dire health crises.

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