Israel and Hamas Extend Temporary Ceasefire by 48 Hours

War pause gets extended: The temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been extended from four days to six. Hamas has so far released 50 Israeli hostages taken in the October 7 pogrom; Israel has released 150 Palestinian prisoners who been tried in court and held in Israeli jails.
For each additional day that the ceasefire is extended, Hamas will release 10 more hostages and Israel will release 30 more prisoners.
The pause in fighting is allowing aid convoys to reach Palestinians who have gone without food, clean water, and medical care for many weeks.
But it may not last much longer: “Some analysts say domestic pressures will probably prompt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to revive the invasion sooner rather than later,” reports The New York Times. “A delayed resumption of the attack would put Mr. Netanyahu on a collision course with far-right government ministers who grudgingly supported the cease-fire because they were assured that the invasion would continue after only a short truce.”
Zero-COVIDism has consequences: A massive wave of respiratory viruses is hitting China hard—children in particular. China’s Zero-COVID policy meant the state put certain regions with high circulation of the disease into lockdown cyclically, using centralized health apps to track people’s movements and discern whether they’d been in close proximity to the sick. Travel into and outside of the country was heavily restricted. People in lockdown areas would be forced to stay shut inside their homes for months on end, leading to scenes of incredible desperation and a shocking mass protest movement in November 2022 that led to the policy being fully retired that December. The economic hit was extraordinary.
Now, RSV, COVID, pneumonia, and the flu are all circulating, mimicking the same pattern we saw in schools in the U.S. that locked down super hard: When you take children out of the public, you delay waves of contagious diseases circulating, but you don’t altogether prevent it.
“By May and June 2021, pediatricians noticed an unprecedented, counterseasonal surge in communicable illnesses, particularly RSV,” wrote Pamela Hobart for Reason earlier this year. “Hand, foot, and mouth disease came right along with it, tearing through schools and day care centers all summer with unmistakable boils. Strep throat got in on the action too. Instead of dodging diseases, this catch-up wave suggested, children had largely just deferred them.”
Since no new pathogens have been detected in China, there is minimal risk to people outside of the country. Still, this story is a good reminder that Zero-COVID policy was not only a disaster for civil liberties but also, in the long run, a disaster for many people’s health.
Scenes from New YorkHad a great time in Manhattan yesterday recording something new and fun. Will keep you all guessing. All I can say is: Stay tuned.
(Jim Epstein)
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