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World News
Simon

Megathread on the coronavirus

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Simon

There is a lot of news and discussions surrounding the new global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic currently terrorizing the world. So let's try and keep discussions related to the coronavirus crisis in this thread. Share and post news, articles, and op-eds that you find interesting and relevant to this subject, and please do post your comments on the global health crisis here as well.

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Simon

A team of 52 Cuban doctors and nurses has left for Lombardy, Italy to help contain the new coronavirus, clearly demonstrating the reach of the country's medical skills, solidarity, and diplomacy.

?m=02&d=20200322&t=2&i=1506514247&w=1200
UK.REUTERS.COM

Communist-run Cuba said it dispatched a brigade of doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus at the request of the worst-affected r...

This is not the first medical team that Cuba has sent abroad to help abroad to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Cuba has sent its "medical brigades" to countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua as well as Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada in recent days. But this is the first time Cuba is sending a medical team to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries. 

"We are all afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfill, so we take out fear and put it to one side," said Leonardo Fernandez, to Reuters late on Saturday shortly before his brigade’s departure to Italy.

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Simon

How much does it cost to get treated for the coronavirus if you are one of the 30 million uninsured Americans? 

When Danni Askini started feeling chest pain, shortness of breath and a migraine - all of which are symptoms of Covid-19 - she sought medical help for her coronavirus symptoms. The Time reports

Quote

Over the next several days, Askini saw her temperature spike and drop dangerously, and she developed a cough that gurgled because of all the liquid in her lungs. After two more trips to the ER that week, Askini was given a final test on the seventh day of her illness, and once doctors helped manage her flu and pneumonia symptoms, they again sent her home to recover. She waited another three days for a lab to process her test, and at last she had a diagnosis: COVID-19.

A few days later, Askini got the bills for her testing and treatment: $34,927.43. “I was pretty sticker-shocked,” she says. “I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.”

$34,927.43. That's crazy! How will anyone that's uninsured in the USA afford a medical bill like that? The health system in the USA is completely bonkers and inhumane.

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Simon

As the US and the Trump administration is fiddling around and blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic, China seems to have managed to control the outbreak within the country. China’s public and private sector is now looking beyond its own borders and sending help to countries asking for assistance. The Intercept reports that: As the U.S. blames china for the coronavirus pandemic, the rest of the world asks china for help

Quote

Yet now that the situation in China appears to have stabilized, the country is positioning itself at the head of the global response to Covid-19, adopting a unique leadership position that may alter global power relations, despite the biggest shock to its industrial output and economy in recent history and its coverup in Wuhan at the beginning of the crisis.

Western Europe and the U.S. are struggling under the weight of the crisis, with cases rising exponentially every day and higher death rates in Italy than anywhere else. China’s private and public sectors are filling in gaps in equipment where other states are failing, although the spread of the disease is such that demand for those materials might quickly outpace China’s supply. The government and Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire and co-founder of the Alibaba Group, have already sent doctors and medical supplies to France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, and the United States.

For example, the private Jack Ma Foundation has sent 500,000 Covid-19 testing kits and 1 million masks to the US government agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The foundation has also promised that it would send "20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits and face shields" to every country in Africa.

China is also sending Covid-19 test kits and medical supplies to European countries struggling with the coronavirus pandemic. In Serbia, the country’s president told reporters at a press conference this past weekend that "European solidarity does not exist" and that it was "a fairy tale on paper" while claiming that "the only country that can help us is China. For the rest of them, thanks for nothing." The Intercept reports that Serbia earlier had asked China for medical aid which later arrived in Belgrade during Monday night.

This is incredible amounts of soft power coming from China in the form of foreign aid and investment. It's also interesting to see how much more China is doing around the world compared to the USA and the Trump administration during this pandemic.

But as Dr. Yangyang Cheng, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University, notes: "We have seen how the Chinese government uses foreign aid and investment to whitewash its human rights abuses, and how countries at the receiving end become less willing to criticize or hold China accountable," Cheng added. "That perspective should not be lost even in the crisis of a global pandemic."

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Simon

Al Jazeera has a video on the Cuban doctors and nurses that has been sent to Italy:

And Euronews reports that a 57-year-old doctor who tested positive for coronavirus and who was working in a hospital in the town of Codogno has died after working without gloves due to shortage.

Stay safe friends! ?

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Simon

Check out this amazing video compilation posted on Twitter that shows Italian mayors going completely bonkers at people breaking the coronavirus quarantine: 

"We will send the police over. With flamethrowers."

Just perfect.

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Simon

Here’s an interesting opinion piece that explains how China managed to get the coronavirus outbreak under control and why China’s approach to containing the coronavirus cannot be replicated in other countries.

b8b31e452eb64560a59cd9e6852910cf_18.jpg
WWW.ALJAZEERA.COM

China has gotten a grip on its coronavirus outbreak by deploying authoritarian methods of containment.

And here is another story that has gone rather unnoticed among all the other coronavirus stories. Apparently, the Spanish government has decided to nationalize all hospitals and private healthcare companies in an effort to manage the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Seg-Spain-Corona-Airport.jpg
WWW.DEMOCRACYNOW.ORG

Europe is the epicenter of coronavirus, and Spain now has the second most cases in Europe, with more than 2,000 new cases in 24 hours and the number of deaths doubled. We’ll go to Madrid for an update, where more than half of the country’s cases have been reported. This comes as the Spanish government announced it is nationalizing hospitals and private healthcare companies to better manage the pandemic. We are joined by...

 

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Simon

Experts are currently upholding South Korea as a model for how to flatten the coronavirus curve. In large part, South Korea’s success seems to be due to measures that enabled the country to test hundreds of thousands of people.

flatten-the-curve-coronavirus-usa.jpg?qu
TIME.COM

The idea is to slow the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming the health care system

It'll be interesting when once this is all over which country had the best strategy to beat the coronavirus. Hopefully, we'll all learn from it so we are better prepared for the next pandemic. 

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Simon

The coronavirus pandemic seems to be creating severe tensions between member states in the European Union as the worst hit countries within the union seems to be left alone to battle the crisis.

Jacobin writes that EU leaders have once again put neoliberal dogmas above the welfare of ordinary citizens as they've promised Italy loans to deal with the health care costs of coronavirus — but refused to help it stave off economic catastrophe.

GettyImages-1213667860.jpg
JACOBINMAG.COM

Thursday’s Eurogroup agreement promised Italy loans to deal with the health care costs of coronavirus — but refused to help it stave off economic catastrophe. EU leaders have once again put neoliberal dogmas above the welfare of ordinary citizens — further undermining Italians’ once-dogged pro-Europeanism.

Spain's prime minister have even gone as far as saying that the European Union's future is at stake: "our citizens are dying and our hospitals overwhelmed. Either we respond with unwavering solidarity or our union fails."

3227..jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=
WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM

Our citizens are dying and our hospitals overwhelmed. Either we respond with unwavering solidarity or our union fails, writes the Spanish prime minister

Following the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, there are now significant questions are being raised about whether the European Union will survive, because of what critics say was a muddled response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in Hungary the country's far-right leader continues to dismantle democracy.

5e8f8cdb2500003b086b7818.jpeg?cache=lnww
WWW.HUFFPOST.COM

Quickly moving to utilize emergency measures passed last week, critics say Prime Minister Viktor Orban is "killing democracy."

 

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Simon

A week after US President Donald Trump suspended funding to the WHO, China has decided to donate an additional $30 million to WHO. China had donated $20 million to WHO in early March to help support the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic and strengthening developing countries' health systems as they face intense and overwhelming pressure from Covid-19. 

?m=02&d=20200423&t=2&i=1516138346&w=1200
WWW.REUTERS.COM

China said on Thursday it would donate a further $30 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is seeking more than $1 billion to fund its battle against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 people worldwide.

China commits additional funding to the WHO and the US is looking more and more like a selfish ‘rogue state’, or simply put a shithole country. This non-commitment to multilateralism from the Trump administration and America doesn't show strength, rather it shows a weak, unwilling, and close-minded administration that is increasingly unable to shape the global agenda. We are seeing the first cracks that will eventually be the downfall of Western and US hegemony.

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ghg3

A person who opened fire outside the Cuban Embassy in Washington early Thursday morning was arrested. In 2014, a fire was set at the main entrance of Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, causing significant damage to the doors and charring part of the exterior 4月30日凌晨,古巴驻美国使馆大楼遭遇枪击事件,没有古巴外交人员在枪击事件中受伤,但使馆大楼遭到了一定程度的破坏。枪击案嫌疑人被美国警方当场拘捕

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Simon
18 hours ago, ghg3 said:

A person who opened fire outside the Cuban Embassy in Washington early Thursday morning was arrested.

We have seen a rising number of hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent in America following Covid-19. But I don't think that attack has anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Simon

Everyone seems to love to criticize Sweden and its response and handling of the coronavirus pandemic. So here are two articles that I think gives a pretty good explanation of Sweden's - in my honest opinion - reasonable approach towards Covid-19:

Sweden-2020-GettyImages-1210034503.jpg
WWW.VANITYFAIR.COM

The Swedish experiment is to accept the coronavirus as a problem to be managed, rather than conclusively defeated. But will it mean more deaths?

And this one (which hopefully isn't behind a paywall):

GettyImages-1206945694.jpg
WWW.SPECTATOR.CO.UK

Two weeks ago, I wrote about ‘the Swedish experiment’ in The Spectator.  As the world went into lockdown, Sweden opted for a different approach to tackling coronavirus: cities, schools and restaurants have remained open. This was judged by critics to be utterly foolish: it would allow the virus to s...

What do you think of Sweden's approach towards the coronavirus pandemic?

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Simon

Here is another article that explains Sweden's measures against the coronavirus pandemic:

00virus-sweden1-copy-videoSixteenByNineJ
WWW.NYTIMES.COM

The country was an outlier in Europe, trusting its people to voluntarily follow the protocols. Many haven’t, but it does not seem to have hurt them.

And some quotes I found interesting:

From the first signs of the pandemic, the Swedish Public Health Authority decided that a lockdown would be pointless. “Once you get into a lockdown, it’s difficult to get out of it,” the country’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, said. “How do you reopen? When?”

Scientists like Mr. Tegnell, who has become something of a celebrity in Sweden, and not politicians have driven the debate over the coronavirus response.

Political leaders rarely attend news conferences about the virus, and the Swedish Constitution prevents the government from meddling in the affairs of independent administrative authorities, such as the Public Health Authority.

[...] In recent years Sweden, like many other countries, has transferred such homes from state to private control, she said, and the level of care had suffered. “This has not been good for the weak and the elderly, especially now.”

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Simon

Primary schools in France have now resumed but the children are not allowed to play together. These children (source twitter) have been assigned "play spaces" when they are outside:

907825696_frenchschoolduringcoronavirus.thumb.jpg.40585b18ea0742c39ebc27fcb3a53c83.jpg

And here is a video that shows how other children are forced to follow strict procedures inside their own classroom (source twitter) :

This is horrific. Just imagine how negatively this will affect the children - for the rest of their lives. It's borderline child abuse.

Seeing crazy stuff like this just makes me more confident that Sweden did the right thing

I can understand that grownups are worries. But you don't reassure anyone like this, you just play into their fears even more. All while making it much worse for these young children.

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Simon

China has promised that if they succeed in making a vaccine against the coronavirus they will make it a “global public good” and ensuring the vaccine's accessibility and affordability in developing countries. 

?m=02&d=20200607&t=2&i=1521391496&w=1200
WWW.REUTERS.COM

China will strengthen international cooperation in future COVID-19 clinical vaccine trials, building on earlier collaboration in vaccine development, the science and technology minister said on Sunday.

Let's hope it is China and not the United States that first manages to produce a working vaccine...

Who do you think will be the first to develop a proper vaccine against Covid-19?

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Simon
On 5/17/2020 at 10:37 PM, Simon said:

This is horrific. Just imagine how negatively this will affect the children - for the rest of their lives. It's borderline child abuse.

Seeing crazy stuff like this just makes me more confident that Sweden did the right thing

I can understand that grownups are worries. But you don't reassure anyone like this, you just play into their fears even more. All while making it much worse for these young children.

Here is more evidence that Sweden did the right thing and actually protected children when they decided to keep schools open. Radio Sweden reports on a new survey by the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children and Unicef that "indicates that Sweden's decision to keep pre-schools and primary schools open meant that children here have been left less isolated during the coronavirus pandemic than those in other countries with strict lockdowns." The "survey also highlighted children going hungry in other countries when they didn't have access to school meals, as well as the difficulty in carrying out distance learning for families without digital skills."

You can read the full report here (pdf).

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Simon

Here is more on Sweden's approach towards Covid-19:

mqdefault.jpg
WWW.TELEGRAPH.CO.UK

Not going into lockdown was described as “a mad experiment” at the time, but Sweden can look to the winter with less trepidation than most

"One country can look to the winter with less trepidation than most. Last week, a study suggested that 30 per cent of Swedes have built up immunity to the virus. It would help explain why Covid-19 has been fizzling out in Sweden. If a measure of herd immunity also helps them avoid the second wave, Sweden’s take-it-on-the-chin approach will be vindicated."

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Simon

Here is an interview with Anders Tegnell, the Swedish state epidemiologist, with an interesting discussion about Sweden's response to the coronavirus and what the UK could learn from it.

 

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