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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), August 9, 2021
EFITA newsletter / 998 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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Dutch Artist Highlights the Beauty of Agriculture
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde is working to highlight the beauty of agriculture by combining art and science in a leek field in the Netherlands. His exhibit and short film, GROW, aims to bring attention to the work of farmers.
Join us online for GROW Impact Accelerator Demo Day 2021, AFN, by GROW
After 20 weeks of coaching sessions, mentor networking, customer introductions and pitching practice, the GROW Impact Accelerator is drawing to a close.
It’ll soon be time for Demo Day – the chance for the 10 startups that have successfully completed the program to showcase their tech and business plans to an audience of investors, corporates, government agencies, and potential customers.
The virtual GROW Impact Accelerator Demo Day will take place on Monday 13 September, 5 pm-7 pm Singapore/China time (11 am-1 pm CET; 5 am-7 am EST.)
6th edition of Future of Biogas
24 - 25 November 2021 - Berlin (DE)
The two days event will bring together senior executives and experts from the full value chain to provide a forum for all parties active in the field of anaerobic digestion of organic matter and renewable energy production in the form of biogas.
The conference will provide our delegates with interactive sessions, conference presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities to discuss the latest challenges and developments within the bio energy industry.
Power producers, leading technology & solution providers, farmers, as well as representatives from the food & beverage industry, and waste industry will share their experiences, expertise and ideas to successfully fight GHG emissions and take the right path to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
See Future of Biogas
Biostimulants Europe Conference
1 - 2 December 2021, Granada, Spain
See Biostimulants Europe Conference
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Sheep Returning Home, by Cornelis van Leemputten (1841–1902, BE)
New digital agriculture and agro-energy shows at Fieragricola
26-29 January 2022 – VERONA (Italia)
The 115th edition of Fieragricola, the biennial exhibition scheduled in Verona 26-29 January 2022, takes up the challenge of sustainability and raises the bidding with two specific areas characterized by a high rate of innovation: the Digital Agriculture and the Agro-Energy shows expand an exhibition offering that makes Veronafiere’s international exhibition even more transversal and in line with the objectives of ecological transition, reduction of waste and environmental emissions, food security and food safety.
Inasmuch, the theme areas at Fieragricola 2022 will go beyond the show's already consolidated character - which sees the Verona Exhibition Centre bring together agricultural mechanization, livestock, high value-added production such as vineyards and orchards, pesticides, fertilizers, seeds and services for the primary sector - to range towards the new frontiers in the sector, which first of all require a new cultural paradigm, as clarified by global climate policies, the European Green Deal and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2021-2027, which will come into force on 1 January 2023.
>> Digital agriculture.
From drones to sensors, IoT solutions, systems for mapping land and crops, interconnection tools for machinery and agricultural vehicles and management software, opportunities for agriculture are constantly evolving in sector worth around 540 million euros in Italy (2020 figure, +20% on 2019) and more than 13.7 billion dollars worldwide.
New technologies are achieving high diffusion and growth rates, precisely because digitization ensures responses in terms of rational use of resources, reducing emissions (and meeting zero emission targets by 2050), transparency in production processes and the possibility of certifying each step along the supply chain. The benefits of Agriculture 4.0 will also impact employment, given demand for specialist professional figures capable of interpreting the big data collected by machines and precision agriculture tools.
Fieragricola, alongside the exhibition offering, will seek to direct visitors (farmers, sub-contractors, agricultural technicians, land surveyors, agronomists, veterinarians) towards the most appropriate solutions for various production models, not the least through meetings, conventions and analysis focusing on training. This show is organised in collaboration with Image Line, a leader in digital innovation for agriculture.
The 115th Fieragricola also spotlights energy from renewable agriculture sources, an increasingly essential corollary tool the primary sector as a source of multifunctional income and as a strategy supporting the circular economy and the ecological transition.
In particular, Fieragricola will focus on two agro-energy segments that over the years have adapted best to the needs of Italian agricultural companies: Bio-gas and bio-methane, the most advanced segments for the exploitation of livestock sewage and agricultural waste, and agro-voltaic, the solution recommended in the past by the Georgofili Academy for the recovery of farmhouses and other rural property.
>> PNRR resources.
In addition to CAP funds (with almost 50 billion Euros assigned to Italy in the period 2021-2027), the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) also envisages resources for the green transition, digital transformation and agriculture, with special attention on the circular economy and sustainable agriculture; renewable energy, hydrogen, networking and sustainable mobility in relation to the development of agro-voltaics and bio-methane; protection of land and water resources; tourism and 4.0 culture; social infrastructures, families, communities and the tertiary sector.
The new vision of agriculture at Fieragricola. There are many targets that agriculture must absolutely reach in order to respond to the needs of a growing world population that is expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050: Increased output, food safety & security, improved yields, reduced environmental impact, the response to climate change, safeguarding water resources, efforts to counter abandonment of rural areas and hydro-geological instability, production quality and profitability of agricultural production chains.
The 115th Fieragricola will seek to provide solutions, means of interpretation and innovative tools capable of tackling of current changes thanks to conferences, workshops and debates organized with stakeholders in the sector, in efforts to define a wide-ranging vision without overlooking training ad business aspects.
What share of people across the world are vaccinated?
Nearly 28% of the world population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 14% is fully vaccinated. But the share of people vaccinated differs considerably across countries, especially by country income level.
Across high-income countries 53% of people have received at least one dose, though this can vary widely by country. In Iceland, for instance, over 78% have received at least one dose, while in Australia that number is 32%.
In stark contrast, across low-income countries just over 1% of people have received at least one dose, and no country has a share over 4%. In Niger, for instance, the number is 1.5%, and in Syria it is just 0.7%.
John Deere acquires Bear Flag Robotics for $250m, AFN, by Louisa Burwood-Taylor
Farm tech investing is accelerating faster than ever, AFN, by Jessica Pothering & Louisa Burwood-Taylor
We’ve been watching the surge of investor interest in upstream, close-to-the-farm technologies since the Covid-19 pandemic started. We now have numbers that show just how significant that farm tech investor interest is.
‘Farm tech’ investing soared to $7.9 billion in 2020, topping 2019 investments by $2.3 trillion, or 41%, according to AgFunder’s latest Farm Tech Investment Report.
AgFunder exit review: John Deere's acquisition of Bear Flag Robotics, AFN, by Rob Leclerc
When our portfolio company Bear Flag Robotics announced the close of its Seed round in January of this year, I was quoted in their press release saying that Bear Flag could be one of the most important companies in agriculture over the next decade. Today I’m doubling down on that claim after John Deere announced that it acquired the Californian agtech startup for $250 million.
Bear Flag is to tractors what $30 billion Cruise Automation is to cars, transforming everyday tractors into autonomous tractors. This is Deere’s second major automation acquisition in the past four years after Blue River, a more mature robotics company, that it bought for $305 million in 2017.
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Innovative program offers better approach for ag startups seeking US market entry New August 17 deadline! AFN, Sponsored Post
A novel technology and compelling value proposition is the first critical step for an ag startup to enter the US market. But navigating the regulatory, finance, marketing and geographic hurdles involved can be overwhelming for many international companies, says Billi Hunt, executive director at America’s Cultivation Corridor.
“When I started at America’s Cultivation Corridor three years ago, I kept hearing from organizations trying to help international startups enter the US market that there was no program or roadmap on how to do it,” Hunt tells AFN. “After hearing the same thing from three or four countries, we knew there was a need.”
America’s Cultivation Corridor created the Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program to help fill this void by developing a curriculum of resources, establishing mentorships, and facilitating connections with leading farmer, business, and research leaders in Iowa.
Puebla (Mexico city) can now do its grocery shopping online with Jüsto, Entrepreneur en español (feat. Jüsto)
El emprendimiento mexicano que comienza a expandirse para continuar el apoyo hacia el mercado agrícola.
Jüsto, la startup mexicana que se dedica a vender artículos del supermercado por medio de un sistema ecommerce para que no tengas que salir de casa, anunció su llegada a Puebla.
Solectrac Launches New e70N Electric Tractor, Delivering to California Vineyards and Farms
All-new 70 HP equivalent electric tractor is ideal for vineyards and farm operations, with a narrow body for easy manoeuvrability.
Precision Planting to Acquire Harvest Solution Company Headsight
Headsight's flagship product is the family of header height sensors used in corn and grain harvesting.
New Precision Planting Row Cleaner Now Available for Purchase
The new frame-mounted row cleaner technology offers farmers improved row unit ride and downforce consistency.
Minnesota ag students get unique experience in digital media
In Minnesota, there is a unique opportunity for students who have a passion for digital media and agriculture: the Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Shepherd Boy And Herd In The Mountains, by Paul Weber (1823 – 1916)
John Deere acquires Bear Flag Robotics
John Deere has acquired Bear Flag Robotics for $ 250 million USD. With the help of Bear Flag Robotics’ technology, John Deere aims to accelerate autonomous technology on the farm.
Expert Opinion: Precision irrigation fundamental for food security
Precision irrigation technologies can immediately increase water use efficiency up to 90-95%.
Spot spraying: Tackling volunteer potatoes with Garford spot sprayer
Garford, the selective row crop weeding specialist from the UK, is working on a renewed version of its Robocrop Spot Sprayer. With renowned cameras and new spray nozzles, it is to do a better job. See futurefarming.com
Drones: Drone usage accelerated during COVID-19 pandemic
Agricultural drone usage saw 84% more flights and 49% more users in Q2 compared to Q1 2021.
Barley breeding: Improving yield stability in barley
Researchers in Queensland are working on improving one of Australia’s largest grain crops – barley. The project will use several technologies to fast-track barley breeding for diverse production environments.
Satellite imagery: NASA expands its relationship with Planet
As satellite data provider Planet increasingly markets its services to agricultural companies, the North American Space Agency (NASA) has made the company’s satellite information available to all United States federal civilian agencies, the National Science Foundation, and contractors of the foundation.
Apps: Wingsure develops AI-driven insurance app for small farmers
App confirms crop damage, identifies validity of insurance claims and makes prompt settlement.
Expert Opinion: Why farm equipment still isn’t keeping up with technology
Arable farmers are still waiting for full-scale autonomous systems to make sense financially.
USDA-NIFA and NSF Invest $220M in Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $220 million investment in 11 new NSF-led Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes. USDA-NIFA and other agencies and organizations have partnered with NSF to pursue transformational advances in a range of economic sectors and science and engineering fields — from food system security to next-generation edge networks.
The new investment builds on the first round of seven Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes funded in 2020, totaling $140 million last year.
“In the tradition of USDA-NIFA investments, these new institutes leverage the scientific power of U.S. land-grant universities informed by close partnership with farmers, producers, educators and innovators to provide sustainable crop production solutions and address these pressing societal challenges,” said USDA-NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “These innovation centers will speed our ability to meet critical needs in the future agricultural workforce, providing equitable and fair market access, increasing nutrition security and providing tools for climate-smart agriculture.”
NSF’s investment will result in AI-based technologies that bring about a range of advances: helping older adults lead more independent lives and improving the quality of their care; transforming AI into a more accessible “plug-and-play” technology; creating solutions to improve agriculture and food supply chains; enhancing adult online learning by introducing AI as a foundational element; and supporting underrepresented students in elementary to post-doctoral STEM education to improve equity and representation in AI research.
To achieve investment goals, NSF partnered with USDA-NIFA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Google, Amazon, Intel and Accenture.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Goat Herd With A Shepherd Boy In A Wooded Landscape, by Paul Weber (1823 – 1916)
Low-Tech Method Restores Eroded Lands
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” so the saying goes. Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, AZ, took that saying to heart when they embarked on a project a decade ago to photograph the effectiveness of an ancient erosion-control technique.
Curing What Ails Agronomic Efficiency
The crop production process suffers from an epidemic of “human-verified syndrome.” Here are some of the causes, and potential cures.
My theory was validated when a good friend and grower offered the following nugget of wisdom. “When any vendor sells you something to help you de-risk your farm operations, be extremely sceptical. What this so-called expert is really trying to do is protect the downside with their service (or their reputation), which restricts the grower’s upside potential 99% of the time.” Successful farmers are always willing to take appropriate risks, especially when the payback of the risk is rewarded by realized upside potential.
This was an insightful lesson that orientated my thinking on how any advice is influenced by two drivers: the adviser’s reputation and self-interest; and the grower’s best interest. The issue with this proposition is that, even when all partners have the best of intentions, these drivers may not always align.
The Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2021
A reference work for European decision-makers, the Report "takes stock of the achievements and new forms of European solidarity linked to the Covid-19 crisis, focusing rigorously on the profound political and economic transformations that are underway". "European coordination has, in particular, taken shape in a spectacular way with an unprecedented recovery plan, adopted by the European Council on 21 July 2020," explain the report's authors. In the end, this unprecedented year has once again demonstrated Robert Schuman's principle according to which Europe is made "through concrete achievements that first create de facto solidarity".
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: A Moment der Rest by Daniel Ridgway Knight
Exploring Herbicide-Tolerant Canola's Contribution to the Carbon Sequestered in Saskatchewan Agricultural Soils Over the Last Twenty-Five Years, by Celsea Sutherland
See Sutherland thesis
Kühe rülpsten auch schon früher – Landwirtschaft und Klima
Es wird viel über die Bedeutung der Landwirtschaft für das Klima diskutiert. Ich bin ehrlich: was die tatsächlichen Zahlen angeht, weiß ich da nicht wirklich mitzureden. Der Artikel hinter dem Link bringt die wissenschaftlichen Fakten und zeigt auf, dass viele der Emissionen ja auch schon vor dem industriellen Zeitalter, also vor der Klimaerwärmung existierten. Folglich ist nur die Differenz zu heute wesentlich für den Anteil der Landwirtschaft. Und diese Differenz ist erstaunlich gering und wird stetig kleiner.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Gathering Wool, 1893, by Henry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929)
Agriculture and climate change: Are the calculations correct? By Prof. Friedrich Kuhlmann (summary of a paper in German)
Taking into account that:
(i) substantial parts of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions existed already before the climate changed and that
(ii) the biogenic methane (CH4) emissions , emanating from livestock feeding, do not contribute to climate warming, since that source (just as the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the metabolism of humans and animals) – after oxidation to CO2 within 10 years – is accompanied by the production of the CO2 binding fodder plants as a sink, a modified estimation of the GHG emissions, emanating from the German agricultural sector, was conducted.
Assuming that the climate change did not start before 1850 (beginning of industrialization in Germany with the initial use of fossil fuels) or even not before around 1910 (years with the lowest average temperature within the period from 1850 to 2018), it is shown that the share of GHG emissions, emitted by the German agricultural sector in 2018, does not account for – as was hitherto estimated – 7.4 but only for 1.5 or 0.2 % respectively.
In particular, consumption levels of meat and milk do not affect the extent of climate change. More or less farm animals, as a consequence of higher or lower meat and milk consumption, lead to more or less CO2 fixation through more or less fodder production. Agriculture is not the “climate villain” as is many a time maintained.
Contact: Prof. Friedrich KUHLMANN
The Insect Apocalypse That Never Was, by Jon Entine
The overall paucity of data provides an opening for alarmists to speculate, and Goulson and others have taken advantage of that. But why are the data so fragmentary? Moran attributed the lack of corroborating studies supporting the consensus view that insect populations are mostly stable to what he calls “publication bias … more dramatic results are more publishable. Reviewers and journals are more likely to be interested in species that are disappearing than in species that show no change over time,” he wrote in the Washington Post.
It’s a reinforcing feedback loop, with journalists playing a key role in this misinformation cycle. Scientific publications are more likely to publish reports of declining species. Then, when researchers search for data, “declines are what they find.” The media often seize on incomplete or even biased conclusions to build a compelling narrative—an insect apocalypse or insectageddon or zombie-like resurrections of debunked reports of birdpocalypses and beepocalypses.
The result is that enormously complex issues are often portrayed in cartoonish terms. Conventional farmers are invariably cast as the “black hats” who dare to use advanced tools of biotechnology and targeted synthetic chemicals. They are harshly contrasted with crusading “white hat” scientists and advocacy journalists cast as partners with the Earth and Nature. Independent scientists are increasingly frustrated. As professors Saunders, James, and O’Hanlon have written, there are consequences to simplistic frames:
We disagree with the catastrophic decline narrative, not the concept of population declines or that individual studies have shown declines in some places. Declines are probably happening elsewhere too, but we have no data to prove it. Yet other insects are not declining, and some are increasing in population size or range distribution. New species are being named every year, most of which we still know nothing about.
Presenting the global decline narrative as consensus or fact is simply misrepresentation of science. By continuing to promote the narrative, we may suffer from confirmation bias, potentially encouraging scientists to look for evidence of declines in their data where there may be none.
It is perhaps too much to hope that journalists would have learned their lesson after chasing so many “verge of extinction” tales over the past 15 years that proved to be false. That’s why more independent studies like Moran et al. are needed to break the cycle of bias.
And maybe a little restraint from pack journalists. Keep that in mind over the next few months when Goulson launches his “insect Armageddon” documentary and book tour media blitz. “Let’s move on from the decline narrative,” Manu Saunders and her colleagues plead. “We need less hype and more evidence-based action on the priorities we can address right now.”
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: Mowing Bracken, 1903, by Henry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929)
How to employ Gen Zers on your farming operations, By Elizabeth Maslyn (Gen Zers -> Generation Z)
The time has come: The newest crop of college seniors are officially all from the “dreadful” Generation Z! If that is scary to you, have no fear. Your official guide to managing your Gen Z employees is here!
If you do a Google search on what Gen Zers are like, you might find that they are technology natives, prude consumers, and financially driven. You might also see that Gen Zers are very different from their predecessors because of the increasing amount of technology that they have available to them.
Yes, they missed out on the good old days of dial up internet, stick shifts, bag phones, and the first round of mullets, but don’t let that make you miss out on the benefits they have to offer you!
Gen Zers grew up in a very different world than their predecessors, but they didn’t choose their birthdays. They are a hard crowd to please, but it can be done.
Gen Zers tend to want jobs where their voice can be heard. Let your Gen Zers know that you will take them seriously, and they will be some of your best employees yet. Plus, many Gen Zers have an extreme addiction to coffee, so they’re always ready to run!
We need to remember that all of us were the new kid on the block at one point, and that each generation comes with new challenges. Gen Zers are paving the way for farms to become more efficient than ever.
A brief history of the Green Revolution, by Jack DeWitt
After writing last month about the wizardry of Norman Borlaug and others providing the seeds for a “Green Revolution,” I found out one of my adult daughters, born in the 1960s, had never heard of Borlaug and the Green Revolution. And I got to wondering how many people of that and succeeding generations, even with agricultural exposure, have no appreciation for the food deficits and starvation that stalked Third World countries in the 1960s and ’70s.
Minnesota sugarbeet farm works 'to thrive and to survive' with sustainability efforts
This edition of the Sustainability Spotlight features Nate Hultgren. Hultgren is vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and farms with his brother and father in west central Minnesota near Willmar. His business, Hultgren Farms, raises 1,200 acres of sugarbeets, as well as corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sweet corn, peas, kidney beans and beef cattle on 6,000 acres.
“I think the most critical thing for the food supply chain to understand is that sustainability as they define it comes at a financial cost. As I discussed at the opening of this piece, farmers have no problem understanding how to be sustainable. But if food companies or the regulatory agencies connected to those food supply chains want to see something specific implemented as a product feature or source, farmers are willing to do it but they’ll need to capture a premium for doing the extra work.”
When asked whether he has been able to change misconceptions he said, “The most vivid example I can think of is when we hosted a group of junior high kids from inner city St. Paul at our farm. These kids were so excited and in awe of our farm equipment and the amount of food we produce here … and they left with huge smiles on their faces. I think a bunch of them said as they were leaving that they wanted to be farmers someday! I could tell by the questions they were asking me that day that they had been fed several inaccuracies about how farms operate and it gave me a good feeling to be able to dispel those misconceptions.”
In closing, Hultgren said, “I am very fortunate to be a part of the sugar industry which is very unique. We do a lot of great things and I hope that growers will join me in telling of the story of how we are constantly trying to improve.”
Is the Delta Variant Making Younger Adults ‘Sicker, Quicker’?
Many doctors on the front lines say unvaccinated patients in their 20s and 30s are becoming more severely ill, and more quickly. But comprehensive data is lacking.
Are humans causing a fire crisis? Doubtful.
Looking from space, global burned area has declined even as the human population reaches record levels.
New Robot Picks Up Beach Trash
Wealth and Technology Can Overcome Nature’s Wrath, by Joakim Book
Like the Dutch war against the waves, fortifying against the climate is a technical challenge that requires engineering and adaptation.
US democrats = moderates
According to the last four months of polling conducted jointly by The Economist and YouGov, only 43% of black Democrats nationwide identify themselves as liberals; 44% see themselves as moderates. That’s compared to liberals making up 52% of Hispanics, 64% of whites and 55% of people of other races.
Although the moderates in these groups might favour some progressive policies, they are overwhelmingly likely to take the side of more centrist candidates against lefty opponents such as Ms Turner. That’s not true only in OH-11. According to YouGov’s data, 88% of moderate Democrats nationwide have a “very” or “somewhat favourable” view of Mr Biden, whereas only 75% do of Mr Sanders—and Mr Biden has a higher concentration of enthusiastic supporters. Roughly twice as many moderate Democrats rate Mr Sanders negatively.
New Robot Picks Up Beach Trash
Wealth and Technology Can Overcome Nature’s Wrath, by Joakim Book
Like the Dutch war against the waves, fortifying against the climate is a technical challenge that requires engineering and adaptation.
Rising food prices: how bad is it? By Marian L. Tupy
Short-term price rises do not negate the long-term trends. Over the last century, food has become dramatically more affordable in the United States.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory: The last furrow, 1895, by Henry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929)
Why you should pay attention to your wife
As Chester left a pottery class, he desperately gave himself a personal TSA pat down. He was looking for his keys.
They were not in his pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly he realized that he must have left them in the car. Frantically, he headed for the parking lot.
Chester’s wife, Sally, had scolded him many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. Chester’s theory is that the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Sally’s theory is that the car will be stolen.
As Chester burst through the doors, he came to a terrifying conclusion: Sally’s theory was right. The parking lot was empty. He immediately called the police.
He gave them his location, confessing that he had left the keys in the car and that it had been stolen. Then Chester made the most difficult call of all. “
"Honey," he stammered (He always calls her "honey" in times like these) "I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen.”
There was a period of silence. Chester thought the call had been dropped, but then he heard Sally’s voice.
"Chester!" she barked, "I dropped you off!"
Now it was his time to be silent. Embarrassed, he said, "Well, come and get me."
"I will" Sally retorted, "Just as soon as I convince this cop to take off the handcuffs!"
An hoax… in A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
At a Fourth of July picnic a few weeks ago, I met a man named Tom who said to me, unprompted, “This whole Covid thing is a hoax.”
I took a couple of seconds to try to read his face and then said, “You are joking?”
“No, yesterday I took part in a protest march against masks and vaccines,” he replied.
“So all those hundreds of millions of people who have come down with the virus?”
“It’s not serious. It’s the flu, basically.”
“And millions who have died?”
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