Jean-Jacques Cornish

A glimpse of the post COVID world

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We have just had a glimpse of the post COVID world.

Pfizer the American drug maker and its German partner BioNTech report that their COVID 19 vaccine is 90% effective.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla calls this a game changer.

Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases – who is probably the most trusted doctor in America – says this extraordinarily good news.

We know that people who had shots of the vaccine three weeks apart showed a 90% rate of immunity over those taking the placebo.

Doctors were saying the best they could hope for was 60%-70% effectiveness.

According to Food and Drug Administration guidelines, Pfizer has not filed for emergency use for two months after the test to be sure of the vaccine’s safety.

This means the vaccine should be available in the third week of this month.

Bourla says there will be 50 million doses available globally by the end of this year.

At least 1,3 billion doses will be available in 2021.

It is not yet clear if the vaccine will obviate severe cases of COVID that require hospitalisation and could result in death.

Neither is it certain whether persons vaccinated will not show symptoms of COVID.

Most importantly, Pfizer cannot say how long the vaccine will be effective for.

Nevertheless stock exchanges around the world are preparing for record breaking openings today as sectors like airlines tourism and others for which COVID was an existential threat begin to recover.

The old maxim is that good news comes in threes.

The vaccine is the second heartening item following Joe Biden’s decisive US Presidential election win last weekend.

Dare we hope that the third will be Donald Trump being persuaded by the growing band of family members urging him to face reality and make a dignified departure?

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.