Coronavirus pandemic update

July 11, 2020

Statistics are used, misused, and disputed to either proof that travel restrictions, lockdown, social distancing, and mask wearing are unnecessary, only meant to spread panic and increase state control, or to proof that the days of plenty are over, that we have to end our war against nature and respect the planets limits.

On July 11 there are 12,639,695 coronavirus cases and 563,137 deaths. The USA, Brazil, India, and Russia have the most infections, the USA, Brazil, UK, Mexico, Italy, and France the most deaths.

In many countries the percentage of hospitalized patients as a share of the infected has decreased. The reasons could be:

a. The average age of infected people is now lower and the virus takes a less severe course for most younger persons. 

b. Better protection and hygiene standards for care homes, which were hit hardest in the beginning of the pandemic.

c. Doctors have made big improvements regarding how to treat COVID-19 patients at various stages of the disease, resulting in significantly less ICU (intensive care unit) hospitalizations.

d. More testing – the number of active infections is probably now much closer to the number of real infections than it was at the beginning of the pandemic.

Apart from such details it appears that the coronavirus pandemic is not abating (-), the global financial system and supply chains could collapse indeed (+), Western leaders are desperate to shift attention away from their failure to take appropriate action and try to incite more conflicts (-), reduced industrial activity and travel brings some relief to nature (+), societies are disintegrating as people have to avoid personal contacts and instead spend more and more time with their electronic gadgets (-).

This is a major disaster and a severe test of personal and social resilience.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus. After months of denying the seriousness of the pandemic and brushing aside protective measures, Mr. Bolsonaro felt symptoms of Covid-19. “There’s no reason for fear. That’s life,” Bolsonaro said. “Life goes on.”

President Bolsonaro, 65, has repeatedly trivialized the pandemic and dismissed social distancing, even as Brazil became the second-worst-hit country after the USA, with more than 71,000 deaths and 1.8 million confirmed cases.

In March, as Covid-19 claimed its first victims in Brazil, he bragged in an address to the nation that, if infected, he would quickly shake off the illness thanks to his “athlete’s background”.

Bolsonaro is not the first Brazilian politician to get infected. Arthur Virgilio Neto, the mayor of Manaus, the biggest city in the Amazon, was flown to hospital in Sao Paulo after falling ill with COVID-19. Btw, Neto is one of the harshest critics of Borsalino.

Borsalino is also not the first global leader to get infected. UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin got COVID-19. Bolivia’s de facto president Jeanine Anez, who got to her position in a rightwing coup, tested positive while other members of her team are infected as well. Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza allegedly died from the novel coronavirus. Kazakhstan’s 79-year-old Leader of the Nation and former President Nursultan Nazarbayev has tested positive in June. Iranian Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar tested positive in February. 

There are also many lower level politicians who fell sick of COVID-19 in the USA, Russia, the Central Asian republics (stands) Iran, Pakistan, and various other countries. For example: Israel’s Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, EU chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier, French Culture Minister Franck Riester, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, just to name a few. 

If a political leader, who has all the information, scientific advice, and nearly unlimited financial means, get infected, it is a clear proof of incompetence and stupidity. He or she should be replaced immediately and banned from public office for life.

A bleak outlook

Dr. Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, and visiting professor at Britain’s Newcastle University, says there is growing evidence the virus was elsewhere before it emerged in Asia. The coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 may have lain dormant across the world and emerged when environmental conditions were right for it to thrive

Last week, Spanish virologists announced they had found traces of Sars-CoV-2 in samples of waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the disease was seen in China. Italian scientists have also found evidence of the virus in sewage samples in Milan and Turin, from mid-December, many weeks before the first case was detected, while experts have found traces in Brazil from November.

Dr Jefferson believes that many viruses lie dormant throughout the globe and emerge when conditions are favorable. It also means they can vanish as quickly as they arrive.

It is plausible that the virus could have spread at low scale and low speed via mainly asymptomatic transmission or misdiagnosed as influenza and pneumonia. It could have also originated in any part of the world, far away from China.

But Dr. Jefferson’s statement suggesting that it can vanish as quickly as it arrived, is wishful thinking and based on a flawed logic. With more than 12 million infections and possibly another 10 million undetected (asymptomatic or misdiagnosed) cases there is no chance that this will go away and simply fade out. On the contrary, there is a real danger, that the virus, with so many infections and thereby vastly increased chances to mutate, will create even more infectious and deadly strains, with longer incubation periods and more damage to human organs, especially the brain and nervous system. 

Pandemic news links:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200618111009.htm Possibility of brain damage even in mild cases of Covid-19.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200609.53823/full/ The pandemic increased loneliness.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/02/elmh-j02.htm The poor die faster. It was always so, the pandemic makes it just more visible.
https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3091576/demand-international-travel-sink-80-cent-year-coronavirus-pandemic-crushes Travel will be dramatically reduced, which is good news for nature.
https://sputniknews.com/us/202007021079779986-it-makes-no-sense-alabama-students-host-parties-to-spread-covid-19-as-us-cases-skyrocket/ Not Russian roulette but US roulette.
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53269391 About the longtime effects of COVid-19.
https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/06/30/manaus-mayor-arthur-virgilio-hospitalized-with-covid-19/ Brasilia’s public health systems are collapsing.
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200622-the-long-term-effects-of-covid-19-infection It seems that half of patients diagnosed with Sars-CoV-2 experience neurological problems.
https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/covid-19-many-people-stay-sick-after-recovering-from-coronavirus-a-d814c20b-fb3d-47b1-bd2b-d6fd65e0ef33 About 10 percent of “recovered” COVID-19 cases continue to suffer from unexplainable symptoms for more than a month. 20 to 30 percent of patients who required hospitalization develop neurological complication.

Pandemic economic news:

The US financial system can purchase vast wealth on world markets by printing dollars not backed by real value (fiat money – Modern Monetary Theory). Or, as US economist Barry Eichengreen explains: “It costs only a few cents for the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a 100 US$ bill, but other countries have to pony up 100 US$ of actual goods in order to obtain one.”

Which means: As long as the USA keep its trade relations intact, it can weather the economic storms which the pandemic caused. All goods and commodities can be payed with worthless fiat money. The trade wars which Trump ignited, the additional tariffs, and the constantly widened sanctions are therefore self defeating, because they will over time isolate the USA and it will become increasingly difficult to “trade glass beads for gold.”

Sanctions against Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China may be painful at the moment, but they will hurt Western economies too and with a looming economic collapse because of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries may be glad that they are isolated from Western economic misery.

The malign forces of capital are working tirelessly to ensure that the system they created and benefit from will endure (says Noam Chomsky). It is not yet clear if the coronavirus pandemic is able to break the system but there is a good chance.

Especially if everybody contributes by dropping out of the system. Stop shopping, stop hoarding more stuff, consume only the bare necessities, don’t support big corporations. Some of which are:

Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Walmart, Volkswagen, Toyota, Daimler, Samsung. Big banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Credit Agricole SA, Citigroup. Big oil: Phillips 66, Lukoil, Rosneft, Chevron, Total, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell. Big agriculture: Bayer (Monsanto), Syngenta, Agriium, DowDuPont, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill. Big pharma: Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Gilead Sciences, Eli Lilly. Big food: Kellogg’s, General Mills, Danone, Mondelez, Mars, Coca-Cola, Unilever, PepsiCo, Nestle, Tyson Foods, JBS. 

From mid-March to mid-June, over 47 million US wage-earners filed for unemployment. Most of them had lower-paid, more insecure jobs in the service sector and women of color were affected disproportionately. More than 3 million small businesses closed, twice as many black-owned as white. A third if of hem are probably not opening again.

Black America lost 41 percent of its entrepreneurs. Latin business owners declined by 32 percent. Female-owned businesses declined by a quarter. 

Five white male billionaires saw their wealth grow by 26 percent, or a total of 101.7 billion US$. Jeff Bezos’ fortune is now around 180 billion US$. Combined with his ex-wife’s 60 billion US$ the total fortune of the Bezos couple exceeds 240 billion US$. Bill Gates owns 107 billion US$ and Warren Buffett 89 billion.

Average US inhabitants, meanwhile, have it hard to make ends meet. Millions lack sufficient health insurance coverage. 12 percent live in poverty, 560,000 are homeless. A recent news report calculated a same-city life-expectancy difference of 30 years between those born in wealthy neighborhoods and those born in poor neighborhoods..

The IMF predicts that USA’s GDP (gross domestic product) will drop 8 percent this year, in April the prediction was a 5.9 percent decrease. Forecast for the European Union is a 10.7 percent drop, in April the prediction was 8 percent.

Families in Britain are faced with the most severe economic contraction in more than 100 years, and the current crisis has only widened inequality, according to the latest Resolution Foundation research.

Lower-income households are more likely to have taken on extra debt to cope during the crisis, with a quarter of the second income quintile reporting taking on extra consumer credit, twice as many as among higher income families.

In contrast, wealthier households, unable to follow their consumption patterns with much of the economy closed, enjoyed “forced” savings that consequently raised their net worth. Over one-third of the richest fifth saw their savings increase in the first months of the crisis.


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