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COVID-19 tax? Over 80 super-rich seek wealth tax over coronavirus

The millionaires, including Ben and Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Disney heir Abigail Disney, said they should be taxed more, "immediately, substantially and permanently".

July 14, 2020 / 09:51 PM IST

More than 80 millionaires calling themselves "Millionaires for Humanity" want governments to tax the wealthy and use the money towards coronavirus relief. The millionaires, including Ben and Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Disney heir Abigail Disney, said they should be taxed more, "immediately, substantially and permanently".

The letter, also signed by United States entrepreneur Sidney Topol and New Zealand retailer Stephen Tindall, read, "As COVID-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world."

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"No, we are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door. But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis," the letter said according to an AFP report.

The signatories include Sir Stephen Tindall, the founder of the Warehouse Group and New Zealand’s second-richest man, British screenwriter and director Richard Curtis, and Irish venture capitalist John O’Farrell.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"We owe a huge debt to the people working on the frontlines of this global battle. Most essential workers are grossly underpaid for the burden they carry," the letter read.

The group released the letter ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting.

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