As lockdowns start to lift in London, legendary front man for the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger along with drummer and Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl have released a surprise pandemic rock anthem entitled “Eazy Sleazy” on social media.
“It’s a song about eventually coming out of lockdown, with some much needed optimism,” Jagger said in a statement Tuesday.
Properly socially distanced, the duo recorded the song and video in different studio locations — Jagger at home in England and Grohl in a Los Angeles studio.
The lyrics are a testament to pandemic life, mentioning “prison walls,” “virtual premieres,” “grim” numbers, “watching too much TV,” gaining weight, and endless Zoom calls.
Jagger also lampoons conspiracy theories, those who deny climate change and fears of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, playfully revealing “There’s aliens in the deep state.”
But looking ahead, the 77-year old Stones frontman promises that after “we escape from these prison walls” there will be a “garden of earthly delights.”
Next-generation rock legend Grohl has been fairly active more generally during the pandemic, with the remote relationship he struck up with aspiring young drummer Nandi Bushell in Britain becoming one of the feel-good lockdown stories of 2020.
Bushell’s powerful covers of Grohl’s drumming for Nirvana and the Foo Fighters were brought to his attention, prompting him to invite her to several joint sessions online. They went on to play “Dead End Friends” by the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures in tandem, before Grohl composed a bespoke homage to the 10-year-old, simply called “Nandi.”
With some much-appreciated upbeat news out of the way, here’s a round-up of some of the main coronavirus-related stories around the world on Wednesday.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute reported 21,693 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and 342 deaths related to the coronavirus, with the seven-day incidence rate rising to 153.2 per 100,000 people from 140.9 on the previous day.
The Australian state of Queensland said on Wednesday that it would relax its measures starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday, lifting limitations on hospital visits and a requirement to carry a mask at all times in public, among other restrictions. People are still encouraged to wear masks in crowded spaces.
Australia and Oceania as a whole has weathered the pandemic comparatively well to date. The state of Queensland has registered just over 1,500 cases and seven deaths to date, across a population of 5 million. Norway, with a comparable population, has logged more than 100,000 cases and 688 deaths.
Mainland China reported 12 new cases on Wednesday for the previous day, up from 9 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the leader of Hong Kong’s executive, Carrie Lam, on Wednesday said that vaccinated residents would soon be allowed to form “vaccination bubbles,” enabling them to socialize with fewer restrictions. The port city is trying to encourage its residents to get inoculated, with only 8% of the population vaccinated since Hong Kong began issuing shots in February.
South Korea reported 731 new cases, as the country strains to increase its testing and vaccination programs to contain COVID-19. The country’s health authority said it would consider authorizing the use of self-administered quick tests, despite their comparatively low accuracy, in a bid to keep the numbers in check.
For the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia is allowing a limited number vaccinated mask-clad worshipers into the Grand Mosque in Mecca for the Umrah pilgrimage.
According to the country’s ministry dedicated to the annual pilgrimage, people who have either received two vaccine doses, or their first dose within the past 14 days, or who have had and recovered from COVID-19, are eligible. Permitted visitor numbers are drastically reduced, however, to enable people to maintain their distance.
Morning prayers around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque now require a greater distance between worshipers
mb, msh/jf (AP, Reuters)