Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

April 12, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

In just 24 hours the UK saw nearly a half-million people volunteer to deliver food and medicine to the nation’s 1.5 million elderly and vulnerable people. Nearly 750,000 signed up, so many that they had to turn people away.

In the US the situation is the opposite: there are no shortage of stories such as NPR’s, Coronavirus Drives Away Volunteers Just As They’re Needed Most. But it’s not just the local holy-rolling church and the local food bank – the professional charity services have seemingly turned tail and ran away even though soldiering through a crisis is their job. In an “only in America” type of headline – The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.

With 17 million made jobless in 15 days, but with no government aid system to help them permitted to exist under US neoliberalism, food banks are not only increasingly short on food but short on people to hand out what little food they have left. Their malnutrition situation is so very dangerous that The New York Times reported that, “Uniformed (national) guardsmen help ‘take the edge off’ at increasingly tense distributions of (food) boxes,” and without even commenting on what an abnormal “edge” that is to have.

Doesn’t that all seem very American?

But in the UK national solidarity is now off the charts, and it’s not of the fundamentally conservative, nonsensical “Keep calm and carry on” variety from 2008: commentators say that the volunteer wave is healing the divide caused by Brexit, as well as erasing generation gaps because WWII-era Brits are seeing what their youth can and will do in a crisis.

How can we explain this disparity?

I think I should relate that to an Iranian this disparity is especially perplexing.

After all, “Marg bar (down with) England” is always right up there with, “Marg bar the United States”. Those two comprise 40% of the reliably unholy pentagon of your standard “Marg bar …!” chant, along with Israel, the MKO/MEK hypocrites, and those who oppose the guardianship of the Islamic jurist principle.

But look at all those volunteers – has England changed drastically and grown a conscience? Has Iran got it wrong? Are we supposed to stop marg bar-ing them now?

What?! Have you lost your head during this corona crisis?! If anything, we should be adding marg bars, not reducing marg bars! For example: why not “Marg bar Wales”? Don’t you think they feel left out often enough? And why are we leaving Scotland off the hook?

So the very notion of not marg bar-ing England practically makes me want to add a, “Marg bar you!”

But I get carried away easily, so I think it’s time for a marg bar on jokes in this article.

The reason for the difference is quite simple, but very sad

Are all of America’s healthy men and women aged 20-40, who have a statistically infinitesimal chance of dying from coronavirus, too busy to volunteer? Of course not – they’re mostly on lockdown now.

Are they too self-centred to volunteer? Is this more out-of-control Western individualism? Are they too lazy? Have they been scared into submission by an atrocious and irresponsible national media?

I honestly don’t think it’s anything like that: I think it’s that Americans are scared of the health care costs they might incur if they got sick while volunteering. Contrarily, able-bodied, young, patriotic Britishers have the National Health Service.

It’s really that simple: young Americans want to help their elder class, but they can’t go (even deeper) into debt to do so.

And that is really a sad, sad commentary on “Capitalism with American characteristics”, isn’t it?

I’m sure we can all immediately perceive how so very many negative, anti-social, self-defeating, wasteful and truly lamentable cycles of all sorts are kept in constant motion by the atrocious neoliberal principles which have been foisted on the US populace since 1980.

(Similarly, the US food bank charity is a recent development that exploded beginning in the Reagan era.)

Think of all the helplessness, hopelessness, anomie, anger, bitterness and (that old American standby) rage which could have been alleviated in America by both the act of volunteering and the benefits volunteering would bring, but which cannot even be attempted due to the incredibly difficulty of mere self-preservation in the US?

In their article To Fight Coronavirus, U.K. Asked for Some Volunteers. It Got an Army The New York Times does not mention this obvious explanation for the difference between these two across-the-Atlantic brothers. They either cannot put two and two together, or they refuse to broach the simple fact that the UK can marshal such a force because their youth class has no reason to fear indebtedness due to volunteering.

This disparity – and the explanation is hardly complex, although the ramifications are embarrassing for the US to honestly discuss – is precisely the kind of issue which fake-leftist media similar to The New York Times are steadfastly not discussing in favor of obsessive Trump-bashing and corona “deathboard-watching”.

Because fake-leftists in the US are so prone to turning their rage into false righteousness – this is not a problem caused by Trump: Obama made huge cuts to food stamps for a million households in 2014, which increased the number of people forced to rely on food bank charity, and his health care reform was a pathetic capitulation to the health care corporations and their medical lobbyists. The problem is not Republicans – Democrats are just as rabidly anti-socialist and pro-neoliberalism.

But in a pandemic any nation is necessarily going to live and die on the strength of its existing health care system. The US has to go on lockdown (they say) because their terrible health care system cannot bear even a moderate strain; the same rationale also silently explains why the average American cannot dare to attempt to humanely alleviate the ramifications of such a drastic, anti-lower-class measure.

I’m sure that many American readers are no doubt feeling quite mixed feelings about how such a simple thing – a promise of merely decent health care – could have made such a huge cultural difference during this time of huge cultural upheaval. America has just as many cultural divides to heal as Britain… but they are forced to remain alone, helpless, scared, hungry, untreated and debt-fearful.

One often has to laugh to keep from crying, so permit me one last marg bar – for those who are obsessively making every waking moment and every tiny thing about one subject and one subject only: marg bar religious corona fundamentalism.

The corona fundamentalists in the US could instead spare some time to wonder why it’s too expensive to volunteer for charity work.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Living in the Covid-19 environment

April 03, 2020

Living in the Covid-19 environment

By G H Eliason for The Saker Blog

You’ve heard the US Surgeon General saying, “We should be acting as if we have the virus” to flatten the curve? How is this simple statement hugely relevant to protecting your loved ones and other people, helping medical staff in Malaysia and other countries desperately short of necessary protective equipment, doctors forming Facebook groups on social media to exchange advice on how to keep current patients alive based on their grim failures, and saving doctors in countries such as Philippines and Italy?

Understanding the new environment

I used to build decontamination chambers and work in hazardous environments, hence I’m familiar with hazmat protocols, including locked high radiation situations. People working in hazardous environments do so confidently because of the knowledge ensuring they can perceive their world without fear and the simple steps they take, to keep both them and their families safe.

If you perceive the world the same way, you take the fear of the unknown out of the equation and are taking all the proactive steps that are possible.

Fear of the unknown is the worst enemy you can have today. How you should react to Covid-19 is the unknown. While we don’t know how the outbreak will turn out, there are reasonable, common sense, industry-proven concepts that can replace the stress this unknown brings. It can be done at little to no expense.

It is common sense that all information is subordinate to medical and government pronouncements. It is irresponsible to ignore those because the situation is rapidly developing. We are still at the beginning.

Beyond that, there are no caveats to applying best practices.

Divide the world into 3 parts. Contaminated space-Decontamination space –Clean area

Accept as a fact the entire world is now a contaminated space and respect it as such. Starting with that view takes the guesswork out of everything you need to do. Normal people thrive in much more hazardous environments than this on a daily basis because they respect that fact.

Never forget some people will not try to understand or accept basic facts about this hazardous environment enough to take safeguards and protect themselves and you don’t know who they are.

Decontamination space is needed because you want to minimalize even the remote possibility of contamination from the hazardous environment entering your home. Everything outside regardless of the source has to be considered this way before it’s brought in. Wipe it down.

The clean area is your home. You diminish the potential of contaminating it by simple steps, nothing extravagant is needed. It is the one place on earth you know that nothing can harm you. Protect it.

This is why people leaving areas with high infection rates are more at risk of contracting the virus than people who don’t and are taking precautions. That’s aside from becoming a new point of contagion.

The reason is simple. You are moving into areas and are in contact with unknown people and objects assuming they are safe because of geography. All you do in reality is throw all precautions away and move across a contaminated environment without safeguards. Doing so multiplies the odds of contagion by something as simple as touching the wrong doorknob or a gas station pump that a hundred people you don’t know did before you.

The only safe place is the clean space you know about. That is the first rule of hazardous environments.

Contaminated Space

Contaminated space is every place in the world outside your home. Contaminated items include everything not already inside your home. Think of it as if you were living in space. Your own capsule (home) is the only safe environment until this subsides. The rest of the world and everything in it is part of a hostile environment (space). People in public space are part of this environment.

As an example, during my teen years in the US, we used to swim in water reservoirs. If the police caught you, the fine was more for swimming in bathing suits or shorts than swimming nude. The reason was the clothing you wore that morning going through public spaces had the potential to pick up and introduce any imaginable pathogen or contaminant into a source of public drinking water.

Every item whether it is your own clothes, wallet, watch, etc becomes part of this hostile environment in the same way as soon as it leaves your home. Have you ever noticed in movies that the white Tyvek suits worn in bad environments are a flat fabric? More detail is more surface area, which is something to consider.

If you start to think this way, you’ll limit your exposure and minimalize what you bring into it. If you value something, leave it at home. Not exposing personal items is a common practice for hazardous environment work.

This point isn’t about Draconian measures, merely about developing situational awareness in this unusual set of circumstances affecting many countries globally. You decide what’s best for you. By creating a smaller footprint, you lessen the potential exposure exponentially.

During quarantines, households could have a designated person dealing with public activities like shopping. Masks should be mandatory if available and social distance practice in public is a must.

Sanitary wipes for hands are in reality a limited use item. Most of the virus stays intact on your hands and spreadable but it is still better than nothing at all. More than 20 seconds of real handwashing with soap and water is the best practice. Obviously, don’t touch your face in this environment.

Decontamination space

This is important if you are in a high-risk area. You need to stop the potential at the doorstep so you don’t bring contamination into your home. In this case, contamination includes any dirt or dust with the possibility of having the virus clinging to it.

Purchases should be wiped down before they enter your home.

Shoes should stay outside, because of the potential contact they have with the virus from public spaces. Particles on your shoes or clothes can become airborne in a normal environment.  An alternate is washing your shoes with alcohol or other disinfectants. Leave them outside anyway.

The best practice would be to have public clothes and in-home clothes. So, change them before entering your home if possible. If not, try to separate clothes worn in public space from the living area and use a disinfectant spray if possible.

Masks should be left outside the living area. Last on the list is washing your hands and face with water before entering your home. This doesn’t cost anything to set up. It is all done in a particular order for a reason.

Normally, a decon is 3-chambered. A dirty room where outside clothes are taken off. Next comes a shower where everything and everyone is washed down. Last is a clean room where respirators are taken off. This isn’t feasible for most people.

Cleanroom

Take a shower after going to a public place. Try to make sure nothing enters your home without a decontaminating wipe-down first. If you purchased something, assume at least 20 other people you don’t know contacted the item on its way to you.

This is where you live. Keep it clean.

The world

With all that said, please do your part and help others. I came across one small effort that should be a model for us all. In Australia, a young couple has elderly neighbors that are at high risk. They had their neighbors put a green sign in the window to indicate they were fine. A red one indicated they needed help, whether it was shopping or whatever.

The entire world is in this together. By taking simple steps, you can protect yourself. Making sure everyone else around you can also do so? Every part matters. That part is what is going to help slow down the epidemic and make it manageable for doctors and nurses while they find a way through.

Do you think my advice sounds hysterical or irrelevant? Take a close look at what is happening in countries outside USA, Europe and the Middle East. And this is online.

Doctors frantically trying to exchange information online to save current and future patients, using social media groups such such as Facebook {1}. Malaysian medical staff desperately short of PPE, therefore using dustbin liners, cling wrap and plastic bags which are clearly inadequate {2}. 61 doctors have died of Covid-19 in Italy, 12 doctors have died of Covid-19 in Philippines {3}. Hospitals in several countries are being overwhelmed by the numbers of patients in such a short span of time.

You do not have to be the Taiwanese anesthesiologist who invented the Aerosol box for anybody to use without profiting off, which his fellow medical colleagues are replicating in countries such as the Philippines to try to protect themselves {4}. You do not have to be South Korea, which has 121 countries seeking their aid in Covid-19 testing{5}. You’re not being asked to help sew masks or gowns in countries such as Russia {6}, although that will help.

Don’t fall sick from Covid-19, by resorting to preventive measures as if you have already been infected with the virus. Being responsible includes knowing when to be civic-minded, knowing how to react mentally and emotionally and physically in a pandemic is vital {7}, and sharing accurate information in our highly-interconnected complex reality worldwide is always welcome.

Hope this helps.

{1} https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-24/covid-19-mysteries-yield-to-doctors-new-weapon-crowd-sourcing

{2} https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/03/23/doctors-nurses-turn-to-plastic-bags-cling-wrap-amid-shortage-of-ppe-in-mala/1849203

{3} https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/03/29/12-filipino-doctors-have-died-fighting-at-front-lines-against-coronavirus/

{4} https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2020/03/25/2003733342

{5} https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/coronavirus-covid19-countries-testing-south-korea-12598848

{6} https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/03/31/leaning-on-war-time-history-russian-factories-have-switched-to-sewing-masks-to-combat-coronavirus-a69793

{7} https://virologydownunder.com/past-time-to-tell-the-public-it-will-probably-go-pandemic-and-we-should-all-prepare-now/

With Faith, Perseverance and Altruism, Hezbollah Will Prevail in the Battle against COVID-19

With Faith, Perseverance and Altruism, Hezbollah Will Prevail in the Battle against COVID-19

By Fatima Haydar

Beirut – The coronavirus disease or the COVID-9 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. It causes respiratory illness [like the flu] with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Till now, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Though, management involves treatment of symptoms, supportive care, isolation, and experimental measures.

To this end, Hezbollah mobilized some 25,000 people including frontline medics and readied hospitals as part of a plan to help confront the coronavirus in Lebanon.

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared Hezbollah’s readiness “to provide everything the Ministry of Health, the involved ministries, or the state require from us”.

Darin Nasser, Head of the Department of Programs and Guidance in Hezbollah’s Islamic Health Society told al-Ahed News that approximately 17487 volunteers, including doctors and nurses, have been deployed all over Lebanon, to train and assist in this pandemic.

Furthermore, the Resistance group has dedicated a hospital in Beirut it owns – the Saint George Hospital – to treating coronavirus patients, rented four disused hospitals, prepared 32 medical centers across Lebanon and laid plans for three field hospitals if needed. It has also rented hotels to be used for quarantine.

More Here

Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome: A World Gone Mad

Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome: A World Gone Mad

Source

March 29, 2020

Note by the Saker: today I am posting an article written by a good and trusted friend of mine.  That does *not* mean that I agree with the logic of his argument.  For one thing, I am wholly incompetent to even have much of an opinion on this topic.  The little I do think about what is taking place disagrees with the conclusions of my friend.  But since I don’t want to impose my own limitations on you all, I am posting this in the hope that you will find this point of view of value.  But, as for anything else posted on this blog, caveat emptor!
Kind regards
The Saker

Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome: A World Gone Mad

By Percy Carlton for the Saker Blog

The whole world has gone mad with what I call Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome (CDS). I define it as an acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in response to the Covid-19 Corona Virus pandemic. The infection is particularly prevalent among the media and the government officials of the world. Human beings fear what they do not understand and that fear causes them to behave in irrational and destructive ways. The current Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect example of that. I don’t need to describe the paranoia and economic destruction to you because you can see it with your own two eyes everywhere you look. Both the media and the world’s governments are fueling the panic – the media with their hysterical 24/7 coverage and the governments with their draconian police state actions.

I feel like the man in the following cartoon.

Funny Doom Memes of 2017 on SIZZLE | Church

I am doomed to helplessly stand by and watch the entire world commit economic suicide for no good reason. At first glance this may seem like a shocking and callous statement but do not mistake this as support for the view that the government should stand back and let the private sector take care of the problem. I have no problem with a strong authoritarian central government response as long as it is reasonable and wise. The current government response is neither.

Do Nothing VS Shut Everything Down

The current debate about what governments should do seems to be limited to two options: Do nothing and let the virus run its course or use authoritarian methods to quarantine and restrict the movement of citizens within and across state and national borders. The former will result in many people unnecessarily dying and the latter will save lives but is already resulting in a catastrophic worldwide economic collapse with repercussions that will last for years. It is very narrow thinking to think that those are the only two options that exist. There is always another way. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a solution to the COVID-19 virus problem that would save lives and not result in a worldwide economic Armageddon? Such a solution exists and I will lay it out for you in this article.

First let’s define the problem: A highly contagious virus is spreading around the globe and killing people. Governments should be responsible for protecting their citizens so they must take action. But what actions should they take? That is an important question that must be carefully answered, but only after much research and consideration of all options. If we act rashly and arrive at the wrong answer people will die and/or lives will be destroyed by a global economic depression.

Let’s set aside the fear and hysteria and calmly use the Scientific Method to solve our problem. But I must first make a digression about science.

Three Kinds of Science

Did you know there are three kinds of science? Most folks can’t tell the difference between them and are therefore easily misled. The first two are pseudoscience; the third is real science. There is a significant amount of overlap between the first two although they do have enough of the third mixed in to give them the appearance of credibility.

1) Agenda based science – This type is practiced by people with an agenda. They are blinded by their presuppositions and it results in them twisting, distorting, and sometimes outright lying about their studies, experiments, and data. The people that practice this kind of science are not necessarily evil. They just sincerely but blindly believe something that “just ain’t so.” They think they are helping the world but are instead causing it much harm.

2) Bought and paid for corporate science – This type is practiced by scientific mercenaries who shamelessly produce studies that support the goals of whoever is paying them. Many of these folks are downright evil in my opinion. Much of what passes as “science” these days is of this type.

3) Real science – This type of scientist seeks the truth regardless of what it is. If the scientist has a presupposition they will quickly abandon it if their research does not support it. They will tirelessly search for, support and proclaim the truth even if it results in them being ostracized by the scientific community or persecuted by the government.

The Scientific Method

Scientific Method: Scientific Method

Step One – Purpose – State the Problem

We have already defined our current problem as a virus that is killing people all over the world, but we have not stated our purpose and objectives. Our main purpose and objectives should be to minimize loss of life and damage to the world economy. These objectives are both very important and are not mutually exclusive regardless of what our governments seem to think.

Step Two – Research – Find Out About the Topic

I’m not going to spend much time discussing something you can easily research on the internet. There are plenty of articles in scientific journals and on science websites. Here is one example: How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? I suggest you conduct your own independent research instead of getting your information from the hysterical media or an armchair doctor.

Although there are some important differences between the seasonal flu and Covid-19, there are enough similarities that I believe we can find a solution to the problem by applying general medical principles relating to viruses. The entire world did not shut down for the many local and worldwide viral outbreaks we have had in the past 20 years such as SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS, H5N1 (bird) and H1N1 (swine). There was no need to shut it down for this one.

We all know about the infection and death rates that vary widely around the world but you may not know why. Italy is pointed to by the alarmists as justification for the police state shutdown of entire states and countries so let’s take a closer look at it.

The single largest factor that determines the mortality rate is the health of the person at the time they contract the virus. The symptoms are mild for the vast majority of healthy people that become infected. It is well established that the people with the greatest risk of death are those with a weakened or compromised immune system. The death rate increases exponentially with age precisely because of the decrease in immune function that accompanies the aging process. According to an Italian Government Study 99% of their Covid-19 fatalities were already sick and half were diagnosed with 3 or more diseases.

Here are some excerpts from a Bloomberg article on the study:

The median age of the infected is 63 but most of those who die are older. The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions.

“While data released Tuesday point to a slowdown in the increase of cases, with a 12.6% rise, a separate study shows Italy could be underestimating the real number of cases by testing only patients presenting symptoms.”

“According to the GIMBE Foundation, about 100,000 Italians have contracted the virus, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported. That would bring back the country’s death rate closer to the global average of about 2%.”

A huge factor that affects transmission rates is cultural customs. Getting the locals to alter their cultural customs at funerals is one of the four practices that flattened the Ebola epidemic curve in West Africa in 2013-2016. Italy has an aging population that has a cultural tradition of cheek kissing. Is it a great mystery why their death rate is so high?

It is probable that the 2-3% global average of the death rate is wildly over inflated due a high false negative rate for the current tests. And what about the many thousands or maybe even millions of people who may have contracted the virus and were not tested because the symptoms were so mild? Several weeks ago a strange virus ran through my family and a number of my co-workers. We felt horrible for a few days but recovered quickly. My daughter got the worst symptoms but tested negative for the flu. How do we know that it was not Covid-19 or another corona virus? Some of the alarmists such as Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson are now beginning to back off of their doom and gloom predictions. The phrase “Lies, damned lies and statistics” applies here. The infection rate and death percentage numbers are unreliable. The only statistic that is close to accurate is the number of deaths. Let’s focus our efforts on reducing that number.

Sun Tzu, Firefighters, Preppers, and Floridians

Let’s continue to gather information by getting some advice from Sun Tzu, firefighters, preppers, and Floridians. After that I will tie it all together for you so that it will make sense.

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu famously said in The Art of War “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

The world’s governments are fighting a battle against an “enemy” (the Covid-19 virus) they do not understand. Neither do they understand “themselves,” which in this case I will consider to be the human body. This is a battle they will not win. They rushed into it blindly with little knowledge and preparation and the results so far are not pretty. The current battle should be over in a few months but the enemy will likely be back next year and/or the year after that. Will we know our enemy and know ourselves better before the next battle? I sincerely hope so.

But is treating the Covid-19 virus like an enemy that needs to be destroyed at all costs the right approach?

War on Covid-19

The USA has been at war in one form or another since its inception. There have been countless shooting wars but there has also been The War On Drugs, The War On Cancer, The War On Poverty, The War On Terrorism, The War On Global Warming, etc. Have any of these wars resulted in the eradication of the object on which the war was declared? No. All of these “wars” are foolish and misguided attempts at eradicating something that you cannot eradicate. They will always be with us. We have wasted untold trillions of dollars on these wars and have very little to show for it. The results of the current “War On Covid-19” will not be much different. We need to take a different approach and stop blindly declaring war on something we do not understand.

Trump and other politicians are using the language of war when speaking about their country’s efforts to “fight” Covid-19. That should make us very wary. When the USA declares war on anything we can expect several things to happen:

We will go deeper in debt

Vast amount of money will be wasted and given away to corrupt corporations

The US Constitution will be further trampled and more rights and freedoms will be taken away

The people will suffer

We will lose the war

Firefighters

I am a firefighter/paramedic for a large city in the State of Florida in the USA. Every time something bad happens firefighters are called to mitigate the situation. Heart attacks, Covid-19 patients, car wrecks, and hazardous material leaks/spills are among the situations we respond to, but for this example we will use fire. Firefighters do not treat fire as the enemy. We do not declare war on it and try to stamp out every single flame in our jurisdiction. We understand it to be a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be very destructive and deadly if it is allowed to grow out of control. We do not fear fire because we know it well and we know ourselves well. We do have a healthy respect for it because we frequently see the death and destruction it can cause. When the alarm sounds we calmly but aggressively go about mitigating the fire before it grows out of control and destroys both lives and property. We are well trained and well prepared with the best equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) money can buy. We have several different methods we can use to put out a fire but the simplest and most effective extinguishing agent is plain old cheap and abundant water. If a sufficient amount of water is applied to the fire in its earliest stages, it will be extinguished with minimal damage to the structure. But if we are called too late and the fire grows out of control before we arrive, the building may be completely destroyed.

Firefighters also educate the public on fire safety. We teach them how to prevent fires and what to do if they occur. I will return to this analogy later but for now the general lesson from firefighters is that the key to mitigating a potentially life and property destroying fire is knowledge, training and equipment. This allows us to apply the right extinguishing agent early enough and in sufficient quantities to put out the fire before the building burns down.

Preppers

I am an amateur prepper, not the “doomsday” type. Maybe it’s because I took the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” seriously or maybe it’s because I love the Biblical story of Joseph saving “the world” from starvation due to famine. In any case, this practice of being prepared has served my family well. When the mob of unprepared citizens began cleaning out the stores recently there was not much I had to run out and buy. (Although I was regrettably almost out of toilet paper.) I already had a freezer full of meat and even a box of N95 masks. Preppers spend time thinking about different scenarios that could happen and then prepare for them. Some do it out of fear but most do it because we know these things will happen to some degree at some point and we want to lessen the impact of these events on our family. We do not want to be dependent on the government to save us. We want to be in the position to help other people and not be a burden on them.

Floridians

Floridians are accustomed to preparing for hurricanes. It is an annual occurrence. We don’t panic because we know the enemy well and it is usually not as bad as it could be. We have an advantage over the folks who live in the Tornado Belt because we have plenty of advance notice that the storm is coming. Preparing for the Covid-19 virus to hit looked and felt like it does when we are preparing for a hurricane. We know it is coming but we do not know exactly when and where it will strike or how bad it will be. We all go out at the same time right before the storm and buy the supplies we need to weather the storm and get us through the aftermath. It always results in the store shelves being cleaned out of certain items. Our advice to you is to emulate our calm manner of preparation but do not emulate our practice of waiting until the last moment to obtain the supplies we need. The best approach is to stock up before storm season arrives.

Step 3 – Hypothesis – Predict the Outcome to the Problem

The doomsday outcomes predicted by the hysterical media and our clueless government officials are fatally flawed due to linear thinking. This is particularly prevalent in the West because the Western mind thinks in a linear manner – they act as if the trend in motion will continue on in the same direction indefinitely. The trend always changes. It is the Creator’s way. Cycles are the very foundation on which the universe was built. It is how energy moves. All viral outbreaks peak and then subside. This one will not be any different. Because the primary transmission route appears to be aerosolized droplets suspended in the air due to talking, coughing, and sneezing, the infection rate will drop dramatically as the air becomes warmer and moister. Airborne viruses love cool and dry air. Towards the end of the article I will be offering my predictions and proposed solutions.

Steps 4, 5, and 6

The world is in the midst of a huge quarantine experiment right now that we have rushed into without adequately stating our purpose and researching our options. In the aftermath we will be analyzing the results and coming to conclusions. Like the aftermath to any other crisis such as 911, most of the official government analysis will be propagandized and used to further their political agendas. We will be deluged with pseudoscience, lies, damned lies and statistics. Truth seekers must use real science to sift through the B.S. and find the truth just like we had to do with 911. Let us hope that the people of the world do not fall for the propaganda and “give up essential liberty to purchase a little safety.” One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” The government officials of the world know a lot that “just ain’t so.” Unfortunately that “knowledge” is what they base their decisions on.

The World in Turmoil

The world is in fear driven turmoil right now because of the following reasons:

  • Ignorance: Our leaders are completely ignorant about how the human body works and are relying on guidance from a conventional medical system that is rife with agenda and corporate driven pseudoscience.
  • Poor or non-existent planning and training: This is self evident and seems to apply to most countries.
  • Narrow thinking: The response is the same all over the world – mass quarantines, isolation, and shutting down of commerce and travel. No country seems to be taking a different approach.
  • Incompletely defining the problem: No government seems to be giving any serious consideration to how they can minimize the economic damage that their solution to the problem is causing. Yes, many governments are throwing vast amounts of money at the problem by creating debt based money but does that ever really work?
  • Treating the Covid-19 pandemic like a war that needs to be waged instead of a recurring problem that needs to be properly mitigated with the right tools and approaches for the job: The USA’s war on Covid-19 will be about as successful as the USA’s War on Cancer has been.

The Cure For Covid-19: Body’s immune system

The cure for Covid-19 already exists so there is no need to look to the pharmaceutical industry to save us. It is your body’s own immune system. Instead of destroying the world economy in knee-jerk reactionary style maybe the world’s governments should be finding ways to improve the health of their citizens. We have already established that this virus kills the elderly and the immune compromised and has mild effects on the healthy. We should be focusing on the death rate, not the infection rate. Many people get sick with a virus a few times a year and the world economy doesn’t shut down.

I could write an entire series of articles on ways you can improve your health and immune system to the point that the Covid-19 virus would be only a minor irritation to you but this is not the forum for that. But I will tell you about the closest thing we have to a “magic bullet” and how the Chinese are using it to mitigate the virus.

After approving several studies of using intravenous vitamin C for the treatment of Covid-19, on March 1st the Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases (which is hosted by the Shanghai Medical Association) pre-published the “Expert Consensus on Comprehensive Treatment of Coronavirus in Shanghai 2019.” Among its treatment recommendations was the following:

“Prevention and treatment of cytokine storm: It is recommended to use large doses of vitamin C and unfractionated heparin. Large doses of vitamin C are injected intravenously at a dose of 100 to 200 mg / kg per day. The duration of continuous use is to significantly improve the oxygenation index.”

China must be using it very extensively because in February they shipped 50 tons of it to Hubei Province, the capital city of which is Wuhan. No wonder turned things around so quickly at the epicenter of the outbreak.

Vitamin C: The Magic Bullet for Inflammation

Inflammation is the term we use to describe the body’s immune system response to injury or a foreign invader such as a virus or bad bacteria. It is at the root of all medical problems and diseases. When the immune system is overwhelmed, inflammation rages out of control. In the case of Covid-19 there is an overwhelming amount of inflammation in the lungs that leads to pneumonia, sepsis and death if the inflammatory fires are not quenched. This normally only happens in people with compromised immune systems. An optimally functioning immune system in a healthy person will easily mitigate the virus before it progresses to pneumonia. There are exceptions of course, but they are few.

We now return to my firefighter analogy. We can easily extinguish a fire if we arrive on scene while it is still in its incipient stage. A small booster line or even a 2.5 gallon fire extinguisher is all that is needed. If our response is delayed the fire will grow exponentially to the point that is not safe to enter the building. We then apply very large streams of water from the outside and do not enter the building until after the majority of the flames have been extinguished. The sooner we apply the water the less of it that is required to do the job. If we do not apply large streams of water in the late stages of a fire the building will be lost.

Vitamin C works the same way as water in our firefighter analogy. If enough oral vitamin C is taken at an early enough stage of an illness, the inflammation will be quenched and will never get to the exponential growth phase. The longer you wait to take it the more you will need to quench the inflammatory fire growing inside of you. The key to success is to take it at the first sign of symptoms. One you get to the exponential growth phase intravenous vitamin C is needed and it will be effective in a very large percentage of cases. If it is not applied, the result is death in a large percentage of cases.

Doctors in China and even the USA are using intravenous vitamin C on Covid-19 patients with great success. Doctors and researchers all over the world have known for decades about the incredible power of intravenous vitamin C to quench the raging fires of inflammation.

Sepsis is a condition that can be compared to the pneumonia that is killing the immune compromised elderly Covid-19 patients. They are both acute and massive inflammatory responses due to infection. An observational study published in The Lancet found that 100% of the early Covid-19 patients that died in Wuhan had sepsis. And not surprisingly most were older folks with health problems. Sepsis may be responsible for as many as 20% of deaths worldwide. It is one of the top killers of people that die in hospitals. One doctor in the USA has been using intravenous vitamin C in a treatment protocol that has reduced the death rate from sepsis by almost 5 fold – from 40% to 8.5%.

Is It Really That Simple?

Yes it is. “But Percy, then why aren’t governments around the world endorsing it and using it?” That is an almost irrelevant question. Does the scientific evidence and case studies prove it or not? I can give you a very conclusive answer for the USA. We have a corrupt and powerful pharmaceutical industry that exerts a massive amount of influence on our government. They use that power and influence to squash and suppress any medical treatment that cannot be patented and used to make obscene amounts of profit. Vitamin C cannot be patented so therefore it will not be widely used or studied. If it is not being used in your country then maybe your medical system has been corrupted or misled by the West. China is using it extensively, as well as a few renegade doctors in countries all over the world. If you look for them you will find them.

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

I do not subscribe to this view because I believe that claims that can be proved or disproved by science all require the same amount of evidence. What is extraordinary to one may be ordinary to another. A good example is 911. I do not consider it to be an extraordinary claim to say that two planes did not bring down three buildings on 9/11/2001, particularly Building 7. The laws of physics prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. But to the vast majority of the American public that is too fantastic of a claim to even warrant checking into. So if you summarily dismiss my claims without serious investigation it will be similar to someone refusing to watch the excellent documentary 911: Explosive Evidence- Experts Speak Out by Architects and Engineers For 911 Truth because it sounds too fantastic to be true. Here are some links to get you started if you would like to conduct your own research. I highly recommend that you do so.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

I would be remiss if I did not touch upon the more bizarre aspects of this crisis. I will list a few. This is certainly not an exhaustive list and I have only linked to the things that are facts. No conspiracy theory links here.

I am attempting to apply Occam’s Razor to this crisis but I must admit that the longer this inexplicable and destructive behavior by governments goes on the more difficult it is for me to do so. Are all these things (and more) just amazing coincidences? I will let the reader decide.

Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste

When a “crisis” comes along, whether false flag or real, Western leaders always use it as an excuse to pass liberty destroying legislation that would be otherwise politically untenable. In the USA, 911 gave us the Patriot Act, TSA, DHS, etc. I fully expect the Covid-19 pandemic to bring us similar legislation such as the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act. Power grabs are being suggested and attempted all over the world. Here are a few headlines:

I could fill up a page with headlines such as these. It is a very disturbing trend.

Where We Go From Here

I see myself as a realist, not an optimist or a pessimist. My study of history, economics, and politics tells me that the future looks grim. Much of the world is suffering under corrupt and ignorant leaders who cannot possibly successfully lead us out of this mess, particularly in the Western world. The world’s interconnected and dollar dominated financial system is a house of cards that has been waiting on the right flap of a butterfly’s wings to set off a series of events that will cause it to come tumbling down. We are past the point of no return. An economic recession or depression will be ushered in by the response to the Covid-19 virus, not the Covid-19 virus itself. The government response to a crisis always sets up the next crisis. Capital flight to the dollar has already begun en mass. By next year or the year after there will be loan defaults that will set off a worldwide contagion that will make 2008 look like a walk in the park. The Eurozone will implode first. The Covid-19 corona virus will mutate and be back next year and/or the year after that. Lord help us if our leaders shut the world down again next year. China will survive and be the beneficiary of the West’s self destruction. They will suffer, but not nearly as much as the West. The USA dominated Anglo-Zionist Empire will be largely over within 20 years, maybe much sooner. The new financial capital of the world will be China.

Conclusion 1 – What Governments Should Do

After we are on the downside of the infection bell curve governments should begin planning for the next round of this. Instead of being reactive they should be proactive. The primary focus should be to educate their citizens on how to be healthy. Healthy people have little to worry about from Covid-19 or most any other virus. Healthy people do not clog the healthcare system; unhealthy people do. They should also educate their citizens on ways they can support their immune systems and encourage them to do so quickly in the incipient stages of an illness. This will drastically reduce the strain of sick people on overburdened healthcare systems. That leaves only the worst cases to deal with. For these they should follow China’s lead and develop a treatment protocol that incorporates intravenous vitamin C to quench the inflammatory fire in the lungs that leads to death.

The mass quarantines of entire cities, states, and countries must stop. It is not stopping the spread and it is destroying the world economy in the process. If they want to quarantine a population it should be the population with the greatest risk of death – the elderly.

None of this will happen of course. When their approach doesn’t work, Western leaders usually double down on it hoping for a different result. Hopefully there will be some renegade local governments that will defy the unconstitutional decrees of their central government – like what many state governments are doing to the federal government in the USA regarding cannabis laws.

Conclusion 2 – What You Can Do

Since I am not under any illusions that this article will be read and considered by any person in power anywhere on the planet, the advice that follows is the reason I wrote this article. There is little chance that any of our overlords will be cured of the Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome that infects them. But, dear reader, if you are living in fear and hiding in your house or apartment and are afraid of contracting the Covid-19 virus there is hope for you. The antidote for fear is knowledge, training and preparation.

I do not fear fire because I understand it and I am well trained and equipped to extinguish a fire at any stage of development. I always strive to extinguish the fire in its incipient stage before it grows out of control.

I do not fear any virus because I understand them and I understand how my body uses its immune system to defend me from them. If I begin to get sick I know many natural methods to ramp up my immune system’s ability to fight off any infection whether viral or bacterial.

If you are not healthy, begin taking steps to correct that now. This virus will be back, and when it does you want your immune system to be functioning at a high level. Take advantage of this “lockdown” time and gain some knowledge. Instead of watching the 24/7 news cycle repeated over and over again (which can rapidly lead to depression and a loss of hope) redeem the time and study how you can change your diet and lifestyle and get in excellent health. After the current madness subsides and the stores are restocked, begin stocking up on the supplies you will need for the next round of this. Become self sufficient and prepared for any emergency. Whatever you do, do not sit back and wait for the government or pharmaceutical industry to save you.

If you do these things you can join me as I watch in stunned amazement the next time the whole world panics due to a pandemic. You will also be in a position to guide and assist your loved ones and neighbors. An economic storm and additional pandemic storms are coming and like minded people around the world need to pull together and help each other when they hit.

Percy

Percy Carlton is a soon to be retired firefighter/paramedic in a large city in the State of Florida in the USA. He has relentlessly studied and pursued truth in the areas of health, economics and geopolitics for the past 10 years.

Pedro Aznar asks a CRUCIAL question

March 29, 2020

Dear friends,

Pedro Aznar is probably my favorite living Argentinian composer, musician and vocalist.  I recently came across this short message which he posted on the Internet and I asked my friend Ana (thanks Ana!) from the LatinAmerican Saker blog to provide a quick translation.  Here is the original video in Spanish followed by the transcript!

Pedro Aznar reflects about Corona Virus

The question remains. I watch the empty streets on TV with a silent soul; cities appear like mockups in an apocalyptic film about a war where everything still stands, but there is no one left.

I hear the neighbors decorate a quite disquiet as best as possible. My friends are barely able to hide their despair. They either take care of their parents or cry about them and hardly know what to tell their children.

We share lists of recommended films, books or inspirational sentences, jokes and good wishes with a half mast joy, like those greetings to far relatives in a hospital waiting room of a terminal patient.

I fall asleep after a couple of rounds of remote-control zapping, while I ask myself, like everyone else, how long still?

I get outraged on the bad taste of the opportunists who try to catch a minute of air by either saying or doing some demagogical nonsense. I exasperate about those beasts who overflow with false alarms. I get sick and tired of always hearing the same and the lack of another subject.

I understand, accept and comply with the big pause-button imposed to the world, and ask myself whether, we will rise in a better shape at the other side of fear. We could have done this before; we could have stopped everything to avoid succumbing.

Why are we unable to stop, shuffle and hand again, in a world that hastily rushes to the abyss?

Governments come up now with ideas to sustain the economy, through subsidies and tax cuts, and giving incentives. Why did they not do so to stop the nefarious paradigm and avoid the derailment we were heading for, instead of tightening ahead the throat of the planet with a claw of filth and greed?

It doesn’t matter who started the pulsed. Whether the virus was planted or not. The question remains: when all this has come to pass, will we still allow everything to stay as it was before?

العالم قبل كورونا وبعده… والسيناريوات المتوقّعة!

د. محمد سيد أحمد

فجأة وبدون مقدّمات اجتاح العالم وباء كورونا الذي أوقف الحياة على سطح المعمورة واستبدلت وسائل الإعلام العالمية والمحلية أجندة برامجها اليومية والتي كانت تركز في جزء كبير منها على الصراعات والنزاعات في المناطق الساخنة على سطح الكرة الأرضية، ومنها بالطبع قضايا الصراع والنزاع المسلح داخل بعض مجتمعاتنا العربية، وأصبح الخبر الرئيس عبر كلّ وسائل الإعلام يدور حول كورونا وما يمكن أن يسبّبه من فناء للبشرية. وبالطبع انتقلت العدوى إلى الإعلام الجديد المتمثل في «السوشيال ميديا» أو مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي التي لا تخضع لضابط أو رابط وما يبث عبرها يتضمّن أكاذيب وفبركات أكثر من الحقائق، وبذلك سادت حالة من الرعب لدى الغالبية العظمى من سكان الكوكب والتي تقدّر الآن بنحو 7,75 مليار نسمة، مما دفع حكومات غالبية الدول إلى اتخاذ إجراءات وقائية لحماية مواطنيها وصلت في بعض الدول لوقف الحياة نهائياً، وفرض الحجر الصحي المنزلي الاختياري أو الإجباري على الجميع.

وهنا لا بدّ من طرح السؤال التالي ماذا كان وضع العالم قبل كورونا؟ والإجابة باختصار شديد ودون الخوض في تفاصيل، كان صراعات ونزاعات خلقتها بعض القوى العظمى من أجل السيطرة والهيمنة على الثروات الطبيعية لمجتمعات العالم الثالث وتكريس تبعيتها وتخلفها ومنعها من النهوض واستلاب قدرة أنظمتها السياسية على اتخاذ القرارات المستقلة، وبالطبع كانت الولايات المتحدة الأميركية هي تلك القوى العظمى التي ظلت تسيطر وتهيمن على العالم كقطب أوحد منفرد لما يقرب من عقدين من الزمان، قبل أن تعود روسيا لمكانتها الدولية في العقد الثاني من الألفية الثالثة بعد فقدها هذه المكانة منذ تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي في مطلع التسعينيات من القرن العشرين، وبروز دور الصين مؤخراً على الساحة الدولية كقطب ثالث خلال العقد الأخير نفسه، وبالطبع يمكن تقسيم العالم إلى أقلية غنية وأغلبية فقيرة.

وإذا كان حجم سكان الكوكب قبل سبعين عاماً حوالى 2,5 مليار نسمة. فهذا يعني أنه قد تزايد مرتين في ظلّ تقدّم تكنولوجي رهيب وارتفاع في مستوى الصحة، في الوقت الذي ازدادت فيه الفروق الاقتصادية بين الدول وعدم عدالة التوزيع بين الأفراد، وهو ما يمثل ضغطاً كبيراً على إمكانية استمرار الحياة على كوكب الأرض، وهنا يبرز أمامنا توماس روبرت مالتوس الباحث السكاني والاقتصادي السياسي البريطاني الشهير بنظرياته المؤثرة حول التكاثر السكاني والتي يمكن تلخيصها بأنه قد أشار إلى وجود علاقة وطيدة بين تطور عدد السكان وتطور كمية الإنتاج، وأكد على حتمية النقص في المواد الغذائية بالنسبة لزيادة السكان، إذ يعتبر أنّ عدد السكان يزيد وفق متوالية هندسية (2 – 4 – 8 – 16 – 32) بينما يزيد الإنتاج الزراعي وفق متوالية حسابية (2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6) وهو ما سيؤدّي حتماً إلى نقص الغذاء، وأشار مالتوس إلى أنّ السكان قادرون على المضاعفة مرة كلّ 25 عاماً، وهي النبوءة التي تحققت تقريباً مرتين خلال السبعين عاماً الماضية. ويرى مالتوس أنّ العلاج لوقف هذه المشكلة يتمثل فيما أسماه الموانع الإيجابية الطبيعية مثل الحروب والمجاعات والأمراض والأوبئة التى تحصد أرواح أعداد ضخمة من البشر على سطح المعمورة، وبما أنه لم تعد هذه الموانع الإيجابية تحدث بشكل طبيعي وتلقائي فقد بدأت الدول العظمى بتخليق هذه الحروب والمجاعات والأمراض والأوبئة وآخرها كورونا.

وفي ما يتعلق بالنتائج المتوقعة وفقاً للسيناريوات المطروحة والتي يدور حولها النقاش والاتهامات المتبادلة بين حكومات الدول الكبرى فتأتي على النحو التالي:

1 ـ سيناريو المؤامرة الأميركية: والذي يتم اتهام الولايات المتحدة بتخليق الفيروس وتصديره إلى الصين، وهو ما سيؤثر سلباً عليها باعتبارها منافساً للولايات المتحدة الأميركية، لكن ستكون النتائج أكثر كارثية على اقتصاديات الدول الفقيرة.

2 ـ سيناريو الخطأ الفني الصيني: والذي يتم اتهام الصين بتسرّب الفيروس من مختبراتها، وهو ما سيؤثر سلباً على اقتصاديات الدول الفقيرة، وسوف تستفيد الدول الغنية خاصة مَن ستتمكن من اكتشاف علاج للفيروس بشكل أسرع.

3 ـ سيناريو الانتشار الطبيعي: وهو ما سيحصد أرواح أعداد كبيرة من البشر حول العالم، لكن ستكون نتائجه أكثر كارثية على الدول الفقيرة عامة والمواطنين الفقراء خاصة، لأنّ الفقراء أقلّ وعياً وأقلّ حرصاً وأقلّ قدرة على حماية أنفسهم، ودولهم لا تمتلك الإمكانيات اللازمة للوقاية والحماية.

ويمكن القول إنّ المحصلة النهائية للسيناريوات الثلاثة المطروحة والنتائج المتوقعة من وراء انتشار الفيروس، سواء تمّت السيطرة عليه أو انتشر وحصد أرواح الملايين، فإنّ الدول الأكثر فقراً هي الأكثر تضرّراً وتدميراً لاقتصادياتها، والمواطنين الفقراء في هذه الدول هم الأكثر تعرّضاً للخطر نتيجة قلة الوعي وانعدام الحيلة وعدم القدرة على الوقاية نتيجة اضطرارهم للنزول خارج بيوتهم سعياً وراء لقمة العيش، على عكس الأغنياء الذين تمكنهم ظروفهم من الوعي بخطورة الموقف واتخاذ الإجراءات الوقائية لحماية أنفسهم والابتعاد عن مواطن الخطر. والسؤال الذي يطرح نفسه الآن ماذا عن العالم بعد كورونا؟ والإجابة ببساطة سيعود مرة أخرى للصراعات والنزاعات بين القوى العظمى بعد أن يكون قد رسم خرائط جديدة للصراع. اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

دراسة صينية تكشف تفاصيل الناقل الصامت!

Image result for corona virus china

يمكن أن يصل عدد «الناقلين الصامتين»أي الأشخاص المصابين بفيروس كورونا المستجدّ ولكن لديهم أعراض متأخرة أو لا تظهر بتاتاً، إلى نحو ثلث العدد الإجمالي للمصابين، وفقاً لبيانات حكومية صينية سرية.

وترى صحيفة «ساوث شاينا مورنينغ بوست»أن الأمر قد يعقد من استراتيجيات الكشف عن مدى انتشار كورونا حول العالم، حيث ارتفع عدد المصابين إلى أكثر من 320000 مصاب ووفاة ما يناهز 14000 شخص حول العالم.

ويلفت التقرير إلى أكثر من 43000 مصاب في الصين بفيروس كورونا حتى نهاية شباط لم تظهر عليهم أعراض الفيروس، بحسب المعطيات الرسمية السريّة، وتابعت الصحيفة إلى أنه تم وضعهم في الحجر الصحي بطبيعة الحال ولكن لم يتم إدخالهم على السجلات الرسمية للحالات الإيجابية التي تم اكتشافها، والتي كانت تناهز 80000 آنذاك.

ولا يزال العلماء منهمكين في معرفة مدى إمكانية أن تنشر تلك الفئة من المرضى من دون أي أعراض ظاهرة المرض لدى أوساطهم. إذ غالباً ما تبدأ الأعراض بالظهور خلال 5 أيام من التقاط العدوى، مع فترة حضانة قد تمتد إلى قرابة 3 أسابيع في بعض الحالات النادرة.

واحدة من أبرز العقبات تكمن في أن كل دولة تعلن عن أرقام الحالات الإيجابية لديها بطرق مختلفة عن بعضها.

تعمد منظمة الصحة العالمية إلى تصنيف الحالات التي تبين أن فحوصها إيجابية، بغض النظر عما إذا كان لديهم عوارض أم لا. وتقوم كوريا الجنوبية باتباع الطريقة نفسها أيضاً. لكن الحكومة الصينية غيرت إرشادات التصنيف الخاصة بها في 7 فبراير (شباط) مع احتساب المرضى الذين يعانون من الأعراض فقط كحالات مؤكدة.

لا تفحص الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وإيطاليا المرضى الذين لا يعانون من أعراض، باستثناء العاملين في المجال الطبي الذين يعملون لفترة طويلة مع المصابين بالفيروس أو مع الفيروس نفسه.

وتزعم الصحيفة الصينيّة أنه في معظم الدول الأوروبيّة إلى جانب الولايات المتحدة، فإن أعداد المصابين في ازدياد سريع لكونهم لا يفحصون سوى الذين يظهر لديهم أعراض كورونا.

وترى الصحيفة أن «هناك شكوكاً متزايدة تجاه بيانات منظمة الصحة العالمية التي ترى أن العدوى من الأشخاص الذين لا تظهر عليهم العوارض متدنّية بل نادرة للغاية».

وقدّر تقرير صادر عن البعثة الدولية لمنظمة الصحة العالمية بعد رحلة إلى الصين أن «الإصابات بدون أعراض تمثل 1 إلى 3 في المئة من الحالات»، وفقاً لورقة صادرة عن الاتحاد الأوروبي.

وجاء في تقرير أعدّه مجموعة من الخبراء اليابانيين بإدارة جامعة هوكايدو أن «عدد حالات فيروس كوفيد– 19 في جميع أنحاء العالم آخذ في الازدياد، والتباين بين أرقام التقارير الرسمية من الصين والأرقام التي تعكسها الإحصاءات التقديرية للحالات المشخّصة خارج الصين، تشير إلى أن عدداً كبيراً من المصابين لا يتم تشخيصه».

وبحسب الورقة البحثية اليابانية المرسلة إلى «المجلة الدولية للأمراض المعدية»في شباط، يقدّر أن «نسبة المرضى اليابانيين الذين لا يعانون من أعراض والذين تم إجلاؤهم من ووهان، عند نسبة 30.8 % على غرار البيانات الحكومية الصينية المصنفة».

إلا أن الأرقام الرسمية في كوريا الجنوبية، التي عمدت إلى إجراء ما يناهز 300000 عملية فحص على مقرّبي المصابين، تعتبر الأقرب إلى الأرقام الصينية.

أكثر من 20 % من المصابين من دون عوارض تمّ تسجيلهم في المراكز الكورية بقوا من دون أي عوارض طيلة فترة حجرهم الصحي داخل المستشفى. ولفت مدير المركز الكوري لمراقبة تفشي الأوبئة إلى أن بلاده سجّلت أكبر عدد في حالات المصابين بفيروس كوفيد– 19 ولكن من دون أن تظهر عليهم أي من عوارض الوباء، معللاً الأمر بأنه «يعود ربما إلى عمليات الفحص المكثفة التي نجريها».

وبالعودة إلى السفينة «دايموند برينسيس»المثيرة للجدل التي رست في اليابان، فإن 712 شخصاً تبينت إصابتهم بفيروس كوفيد– 19، إلا أن 334 منهم لم تظهر عليهم أية من عوارض الفيروس.

كذلك فإن تقريراً صادراً من الاتحاد الأوروبي يلقي الضوء على أن 44 % من الحالات المسجلة في إيطاليا لم تظهر عليها أي من العوارض، على الرغم من أن أغلبية المناطق الإيطالية لا تفحص هؤلاء الذين لم تظهر عليهم العوارض.

وفي هونغ كونغ، 16 حالة من أصل 138 حالة مؤكدة في 14 آذار لم تظهر عليهم أية عارض.

تشير جميع هذه الأرقام إلى نسبة عالية جداً من الحالات غير المصحوبة بالعوارض، أعلى مما أشارت إليه البيانات الصينية حتى الآن. ويؤكد العلماء الصينيون أن هناك 889 مريضاً من دون عوارض من بين 44672 حالة مؤكدة حتى 11 فبراير (شباط).

وفي دراسة مشتركة بين الصين والولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وهونغ كونغ، تبين أن حالات الالتهاب الرئوي غير الموثقة، معظمها مع أعراض خفيفة أو حتى بدون أعراض، كانت مصدر عدوى كورونا لـ 79 % من الحالات الموثقة قبل إغلاق ووهان في 23 كانون الثاني.

ويؤكد بروفيسور في جامعة هونغ كونغ للإعلان بأنه «باتت لدينا دلائل مؤكدة أن الشخص المصاب بإمكانه نشر الفيروس حتى قبل أن تظهر لديه أعراض كوفيد– 19».

وختم التقرير أن «نسبة الحالات من دون عوارض صحية قد تكون أعلى ضمن الأطفال، ما يعني أن الأمر قد يجبرنا على تغيير نظرتنا وتعاملنا مع الوباء، وحتى الطرق المثلى للتدخل ربما يجب تغييرها».

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Iran president: US Offer of Coronavirus Aid ‘biggest lie in History’

March 23, 2020

ROUHANI

President Hassan Rouhani says the US offer to help Iran in its fight against the coronavirus is one of the biggest lies in history where American sanctions are hindering Tehran’s access to medical supplies.

Rouhani on Monday noted that Washington’s “unjust, illegal and terrorist” sanctions against Iran as well as other countries’ submission to the US pressure over fear of punishment “have created many problems for our country”.

Iran is battling the coronavirus under the harshest sanctions which the US imposed after leaving a UN-backed nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers in 2018.

After leaving the landmark nuclear deal, Washington began forcing its European allies and other countries to toe its sanctions line.

As a result, Britain, France, and Germany have stopped their transactions with the Islamic Republic in breach of the nuclear deal which requires the signatories to protect Iran from the sanctions.

Rouhani said American leaders are lying when they claim that they want to help Iran, adding all they need to do is to lift sanctions. “Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” he added.

US officials have refused to lift draconian sanctions which are hampering Iran’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. They have instead claimed readiness to aid Iranians, with President Donald Trump saying “all they have to do is ask”.

Rouhani said the US president “is like someone who has blocked the path to a well and not allowing anybody to approach the clean water of the well … and in return compliments a glass of muddy water and says, ‘I have come to help and I know you are thirsty’.”

The Iranian president blamed the US for the shortage of some essential medicines and making life difficult for Iranians.

“We don’t need the US’ glass of muddy water,” he said, adding the Americans had better remove the barriers.

“They would rather go away and remove the barriers and do not harm nations and companies, buyers and importers and exporters. Our nation and our businessmen, doctors and scientists themselves know well what to do,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani stressed that the Iranian nation will stand on its own feet.

In late January, the United States and Switzerland announced the launch of a channel to ship food and medicine to Iran from the Scandinavian country.

Washington alleges that it has exempted foodstuffs and medicine from its anti-Iran sanctions, something that Tehran rejects as a “brazen” lie as the bans have deterred several foreign banks from doing any business with Tehran.

Iran has written to the United Nations and all international organizations, urging the removal of the draconian measures that have come in the way of the country’s fight against the virus.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Monday that the number of coronavirus deaths had increased to 1,812 and the total infections to 23,049 during the past 24 hours.

“There have been 127 new deaths and 1,411 new infections since Sunday,” he said.

Jahanpour further put the number of patients who have recovered from the viral disease at 8,376.

Related News

Source: Iranian Agencies

Lazy Optimism and US Capitalism’s Deaths of Despair

We are all Stoics now

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March 21, 2020

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

The Philosophical Silk Road as celebrated at an Italian airport: a meeting of Chinese and Greek/Latin stoicism

Stoics would approve: Following a decree issued by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on March 9, all commercial activities have been required to close after 6 pm with the exception of food shops. The squares of Italian cities have emptied; bars, restaurants, cafes and covered markets are now deserted. Movement is allowed only for business purposes and home deliveries and for close personal reasons. The streets are patrolled by police forces. This photo was taken at Piazza Capitaniato, Padua, on Monday. Photo: AFP / Roberto Silvino / NurPhoto

Earlier this week a delegation of Chinese medics arrived at Malpensa airport near Milan from Shanghai on a special China Eastern flight carrying 400,000 masks and 17 tons of equipment. The salutation banner the visitors rolled out on the tarmac, in red and white, read, “We’re waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.”

In a stance of supreme cross-cultural elegance, this was inspired by the poetics of Seneca, a Stoic. The impact, all over Italy, where people still study the classics, was immense.

The Chinese were consulted in advance and they preferred Seneca to a Chinese saying. After all, for China, a 5,000-year-old civilization-state that has confronted perhaps more than its share of instances of luan (“chaos”), there’s nothing more rejuvenating than post-chaos.

China is donating coronavirus test kits to Cambodia. China sent planeloads of masks, ventilators – and medics – to Italy and France. China sent medics to Iran, which is under unilateral, illegal US sanctions – and to Iraq, which the Pentagon is bombing again. China is helping across the (Eurasian) board, from the Philippines to Spain.

President Xi Jinping, in a phone call with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, pledged in the wake of Covid-19 to establish a Health Silk Road, a companion to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative.

Thus, finally, there’s the Philosophical Silk Road celebrated at an Italian airport, a meeting of Greek/Latin stoicism with Chinese stoicism.

Slave, orator, emperor

Stoicism, in Ancient Greece, was pop culture – reaching out in a way that the sophisticated Platonic and Aristotelian schools could only dream of. Like the Epicureans and the Skeptics, the Stoics owed a lot to Socrates who always stressed that philosophy had to be practical, capable of changing our priorities in life.

The Stoics were very big on ataraxia – freedom from disturbance – as the ideal state of our mind. The wise man cannot possibly be troubled because the key to wisdom is knowing what not to care about.

So the Stoics were Socratic in the sense that they were striving to offer peace of mind to Everyman. Like a Hellenistic version of the Tao.

The great ascetic Antisthenes was a companion of Socrates and a precursor of the Stoics. The first Stoics took their name from the porch – stoa – in the Athenian market where official founder Zeno of Citium (333-262 BC) used to hang out. But the real deal was in fact Chrisippus, a philosopher specialized in logic and physics, who may have written as many as 705 books, none of which survived.

The West came to know the top Stoics as a Roman trio – Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. They are the role models of stoicism as we know it today.

Epictetus (50-120 AD) was born as a slave in Rome, then moved to Greece and spent his life examining the nature of freedom.

Seneca (5 BC-65 AD), a fabulous orator and decent dramatist, was exiled to Corsica when he was falsely accused of committing adultery with the sister of emperor Claudius. But afterward he was brought back to Rome to educate the young Nero, and ended up sort of forced by Nero to commit suicide.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (The Younger) c5 BC-65 AD. Roman Stoic philosopher, committing suicide in his bath, having antagonised Nero. Photo AFP / rom Hartmann Schedel ‘Liber chronicarum mundi’ (Nuremberg Chronicle), 1493 woodcut, Nuremberg

Marcus Aurelius, a humanist, was the prototypical reluctant emperor, living in the turbulent second century AD and configuring himself as a precursor of Schopenhauer: Marcus saw life as really a drag.

Zeno’s teachers were in fact Cynics (the nickname affixed to them came from a Greek word meaning “dog-like, currish, churlish”) whose core intuition was that nothing mattered more than virtue. So the trappings of conventional society would have to be downgraded to the status of irrelevant distractions at best. Few of today’s (lowercase) cynics would qualify.

It’s enlightening to know that the upper classes of the Roman empire, the 1%, regarded Zeno’s insights as quite solid, while predictably deriding the first punk in history, Diogenes the Cynic, who masturbated in the public square and carried a lantern trying to find a real man.

As much as for Heraclitus, for the Stoics a key element in the quest for peace of mind was learning how to live with the inevitable. This desire for serenity is one of their linkages with the Epicureans.

Stoics were adamant that most people have no clue about the universe they live in. (Imagine their reaction to social networks.) Thus they end up confused in their attitudes towards life. In contrast to Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics were hardcore materialists. They would have none of that talk of “Forms” in an ideal Platonic world. For the Stoics, these were nothing but concepts in Plato’s mind.

For the Epicureans, the world is the unplanned product of chaotic forces.

The Stoics, in contrast, thought the world was a matter of organization down to the last detail.

For the Epicureans, the course of nature is not pre-determined: Fate intervenes in the form of random swerves of atoms. Fate, in ancient Greece, actually meant Zeus.

For the Stoics, everything happens according to fate: an inexorable chain of cause and effect, developing in exactly the same way again and again in a cycle of cosmic creation and destruction – a sort of precursor of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence.

Resigned acceptance

The Stoics were heavily influenced by Heraclitus. Stoic physics dealt with the notion of interpenetration: the physical world as a stirred concoction of intermingled substances, quite an extraordinary precursor of the equivalence of energy and matter in Einstein.

What the post-modern world retains from the Stoics is the notion of resigned acceptance – which makes total sense if the world really works according to their insights. If fate rules the world, and practically everything that happens is out of our hands, then realpolitik means to accept “everything to happen as it actually does happen,” in the immortal words of Epictetus.

Thus it’s pointless to get excited about stuff we cannot change. And it’s pointless to be attached to things that we will eventually lose. (But try selling this notion to the Masters of the Universe of financial capitalism.)

So the Way, according to the Stoics, is to own only the essentials, and to travel light. Lao Tzu would approve. After all, anything we may lose is more or less gone already – thus we are already protected from the worst blows in life.

Lao-Tzu (c.604-531 BC) on his Buffalo, Qing dynasty (ceramic) by Chinese School, (18th century); Musee Guimet, Paris. Photo: AFP

Perhaps the ultimate Stoic secret is the distinction by Epictetus between things that are under our control – our thoughts and desires – and those that are not: our bodies, our families, our property, our lot in life, all elements that the expansion of Covid-19 has now put in check.

What Epictetus tells you is that if you redirect your emotions to focus on what is in your power and ignore everything else, then “no one will ever be able to exert compulsion upon you, no one will hinder you – neither there’s any harm that can touch you.”

Epictetus the Greek Stoic philosopher. Photo: AFP / ©Costa/leemage

Power ultimately irrelevant

Seneca offered a definitive guide that we may apply to multiple strands of the 1%: “I deny that riches are a good, for if they were, they would make men good. As it is, since that which is found in the hands of the wicked cannot be called a good, I refuse to apply the term to riches.”

The Stoics taught that to enter public life means to spread virtue and fight vice. It’s a very serious business involving duty, discipline and self-control. This goes a long way to explain why over 70% of Italians now applaud the conduct of the prime minister in the fight against Covid-19. Conte did rise to the occasion, unexpectedly, as a neo-Stoic.

The Stoics regarded death as a useful reminder of one’s fate and of the ultimate insignificance of the things of the world. Marcus Aurelius found enormous consolation in the shortness of life: “In a little while you will be no one and nowhere, even as Hadrian and Augustus are no more.” When circumstances made it impossible to live up to the ideals of Stoic virtue, death was always a viable Plan B.

Epictetus also tells us we should not really be concerned about what happens to our body. Sometimes he seemed to regard death as the acceptable way out of any misfortune.

At the top of their game the Stoics made it clear that the difference between life and death was insignificant, compared with the difference between virtue and vice.

Thus the notion of a noble suicide. Stoic heroism is plain to see in the life and death of Cato The Younger as described by Plutarch. Cato was a fierce opponent of Caesar, and his integrity ruled that the only possible way out was suicide.

According to Plutarch’s legendary account, Cato, on his last night, defended a number of Stoic theses during dinner, retreated to his room to read Plato’s Phaedo – in which Socrates argues that a true philosopher sees all of life as a preparation for death – and killed himself. Of course he became a Stoic superstar for eternity.

The Stoics taught that wealth, status and power are ultimately irrelevant. Once again, Lao Tzu would approve. The only thing that can raise one man above others is superior virtue – of which everyone is capable, at least in principle. So, yes, the Stoics believed we are all brothers and sisters. Seneca: “Nature made us relatives by creating us from the same materials and for the same destiny.”

Imagine a system built on a selfless devotion to the welfare of others, and against all vanity. It’s certainly not what inequality-provoking, financial turbo-capitalism is all about.

Epictetus: “What ought one to say then as each hardship comes? ‘I was practicing for this, I was training for this.’” Will Covid-19 show to a global wave of practicing neo-Stoics that there is another way?

Lebanese Army, Security Forces Enforce Coronavirus Lockdown Measures

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Lebanese Army coronavirus
Lebanese Army soldiers deployed in Khalde as part of measures to curb coronavirus (March 2020).

Lebanese Army and Security Forces personnel were on Sunday enforcing measures announced by the Lebanese government aimed at curbing the deadly coronavirus, a day after Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced additional measures will be taken in order to ensure citizens’ compliance with the lockdown declared last week.

Lebanese Army helicopters flew over several areas across the country, appealing to citizens to stay home. Helicopters hovered over the Bekaa, Keserwan, Beirut, Upper Metn and Aley, calling on Lebanese people via speakers to remain at homes and don’t get out unless absolutely necessary.

National Army and Internal Security Forces deployed on ground, intensifying their patrols in several regions across the country.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Internal Security Forces’ General Directorate announced it has started to stage patrols across the Lebanese regions.

The Directorate urged citizens to adhere to the declared preventive measures, warning that hundreds of fines were issued against the violators, the statement said, as quoted by the National News Agency.

“The Directorate will intensify its procedures as of Sunday morning, imposing legal sanctions and strict measures against any violator, up to a six-month imprisonment period.”

Lebanese Interior Minister

Meanwhile on Sunday, Interior and Municipalities Minister Mohamad Fahmy launched the executive plan to compel citizens not to leave their homes

“There are some citizens who have not shown commitment, and the law will apply to everyone. Each violation that poses a threat to public safety will be suppressed…and I do not receive calls from anyone,” he said in a press conference.

The Minister indicated that “complete coordination is taking place between all state apparatuses, especially the security forces, to implement the adopted measures, and I ask the governors to call the Sub-Security Council to convene when necessary.”

The Interior Minister, thus, urged owners of shops, institutions and pharmacies to “organize the entry of citizens by limiting them into specific numbers, in a bid to prevent overcrowding.”

“Protect yourselves, your family, and your community, and let us save ourselves, our people, and our country!” Fahmy concluded, as quoted by NNA.

Source: Lebanese media

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China’s Wuhan Marks No New Coronavirus Case, Success of Strict Measures

By Xinhua

Global Research, March 20, 2020

Xinhua 19 March 2020

No new infections of the novel coronavirus were reported on Wednesday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, marking a notable first in the city’s months-long battle with the deadly virus and sending a message of hope to the world gripped by the pandemic.

The Health Commission of Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the capital, said the virus’ death toll climbed by eight in the province, but the total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan and Hubei remained at 50,005 and 67,800 on Wednesday.

No increase was observed in the province’s number of suspected cases, which fell to zero on Tuesday, in another indication that large-scale transmissions have been suppressed at the epidemic ground zero after a slew of strict measures.

Previously, the central Chinese province had reported single-digit increases of new infections, all of which were from Wuhan, for a week in a row since last Wednesday. A month ago, the figure was several thousand a day.

The province also saw 795 patients discharged from hospital after recovery on Wednesday, reducing its caseload of hospitalized patients to 6,636, including 1,809 in severe condition and 465 in critical condition.

With no new cases in Wuhan, the Chinese mainland on Wednesday reduced the increase in domestic transmissions to zero, according to the National Health Commission. The country now faces a greater threat of infections imported from overseas, which jumped by 34 on Wednesday.

“The clearing of new infections in Wuhan came earlier than predicted, but it is still too early to let down our guard,” said Zhang Boli, one of the leading experts advising on the epidemic fight in Hubei.

Arduous work still lies ahead as China strengthens its defence against imported cases from abroad, treats thousands of patients still in serious or critical condition and rehabilitates those discharged from hospitals, said Zhang, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

“Cunning Virus”

The novel coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan in December as a new pathogen facing mankind. Before its traits were fully understood, the virus had cut a swath of infections among Wuhan’s unsuspecting public, before jumping from the transportation hub to other parts of China via the largest seasonal human migration ahead of the Spring Festival.

The Chinese leadership has described the COVID-19 outbreak as the most difficult to contain since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and “a big test” for the country.

Medical experts said the virus is more contagious, though less deadly, than the SARS virus that belongs to the same coronavirus family. Globally, the SARS virus infected 8,422 people and killed 919 between 2002 and 2003.

“We still have insufficient knowledge of the novel coronavirus. What we already know is it’s a very cunning virus with a long incubation period,” said Wang Daowen, a cardiologist at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan.

“We still found the virus from the anus, if not from the lungs, of one patient after he was hospitalized for 50 days,” said Wang, who was among the first medical experts joining the treatment of COVID-19. “Usually, a virus should vanish from one’s body in two weeks.”

Turning Tide

China began to see a drop in the number of COVID-19 patients on Feb. 18, after the number of recovered patients surged and new cases declined. By late February, the virus had withdrawn from most territories on the Chinese mainland, with only single-digit daily increases of infections in areas outside Wuhan.

On March 6, the epidemic epicenter Wuhan slashed the daily increase of confirmed cases to below 100, down from a peak of more than 14,000 in early February. Bruce Aylward, who led the China-WHO joint mission on COVID-19, said the outbreak in China had come down “faster than would have been expected.”

On March 11, the daily increase of locally transmitted infections dropped to single digits for the first time on the Chinese mainland. The virus has so far caused a total of 80,928 infections and 3,245 fatalities, defying earlier predictions by foreign researchers of a more extensive national outbreak.Eight Negative Arguments Smearing China’s Virus Fight Must be Refuted

Behind the downward trends were a raft of strong measures taken by the Chinese government, including canceling mass events, closing scenic attractions, suspending long-distance buses and asking hundreds of millions of Chinese to stay indoors to break transmission chain.

On Jan. 23, Wuhan declared unprecedented traffic restrictions, including suspending the city’s public transport and all outbound flights and trains, in an attempt to contain the epidemic within its territory.

The situation in Wuhan and its nearby cities was grim. Officials said more than 3,000 medics in Hubei contracted the virus at the early stage of the outbreak due to limited knowledge of the virus. Many families lost multiple loved ones.

Following reports of overloaded local hospitals, more than 42,000 medical staff, including those from the military, were dispatched to Hubei from across the country. At the peak of the fight, one in 10 intensive care medics in China were working in Wuhan.

Fleets of trucks carrying aid goods and displaying banners of “Wuhan be strong!” rushed to the city from all corners of the country. Under a “pairing-up support” system, each city in Hubei is taken care of by at least one provincial-level region.

To ensure the timely admission of patients, two hospitals with a total of 2,600 beds were built from scratch in Wuhan within a few days, and 16 temporary hospitals were converted from gyms and exhibition centers to add 13,000 beds. Nucleic acid testing (NAT) capacity in Wuhan reached 24,000 people a day. Testing is made free and treatment fees are covered by China’s basic medical insurance.

Huang Juan, 38, witnessed the first few days of chaos and despair at local hospitals before calm and order gradually set in amid the influx of support.

Huang recalled the hospitals were packed with patients — over 100 patients were waiting for the injection but only one nurse was around. Every day, her mother who had a fever on the eve of the Spring Festival in late January waited 10 hours to be injected.

After a week of imploration, Huang finally found a hospital willing to admit her mother. Ten days later, her mother was discharged upon negative NAT results. “She still had symptoms, but there was no choice, as many patients were waiting for beds,” Huang said.

The situation improved when her father, also diagnosed with the disease, was hospitalized on Feb. 19.

“He was discharged after the doctor confirmed his recovery on March 11. It was apparent that the standards for discharge were raised as Wuhan got sufficient beds,” Huang said.

Cui Cui (pseudonym), 57, also testified to the improving situation. The Wuhan resident was transferred to the newly built Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital as her sickness worsened on Feb. 10.

The military-run hospital that treats severe cases impressed her with a calm ambiance. “Doctors and nurses there called me ‘auntie’ instead of ‘patient’ and spent time chatting with me to ease my anxiety,” said Cui, who was discharged after recovering on Feb. 26.

Community Control

Outside Hubei, the battle against the epidemic has tested the mobilization capacity of China’s big cities and remote villages alike as they scrambled to prevent sporadic imported cases from evolving into community outbreaks.

Earlier this month, Beijing said about 827,000 people who returned to the capital city after the Spring Festival holiday were placed in two-week home observation. Around 161,000 property management staff and security guards were on duty to enforce the quarantine rules.

Shanghai, a metropolis in eastern China, has demanded its over 13,000 residential communities to guard their gates and take temperatures of residents upon entrance, according to Zeng Qun, deputy head of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

Quyi Community was among the first Shanghai neighborhoods to adopt closed-off management. Since late January, it has been disinfecting public areas, introducing contactless deliveries and ensuring residents returning from severely affected regions are placed in quarantine.

“For those who are under self-quarantine at home, health workers will provide door-to-door visits every day, and services from grocery shopping to psychological counseling are offered,” said Huang Ying, an official with Hongkou District where the community is located.

Shanghai, with a population of 24 million, is among China’s most populous cities and a commercial hub. It was once predicted as the most susceptible to a coronavirus outbreak.

Mathematical models estimated that without prevention and control measures, Shanghai’s infection numbers would exceed 100,000. Even with some interventions, the figure could still reach tens of thousands, according to Zhang Wenhong, who heads Shanghai’s medical team to fight the epidemic.

“But now, the infection number is just over 300. This means the measures taken by Shanghai over the past month are effective,” Zhang said, describing the city as an epitome of China’s battle against the epidemic.

New Battlegrounds

China’s economy became a new battleground as the war against the virus wore on, delaying the reopening of plants after the Spring Festival holiday and causing a shortage of workers with the nationwide traffic restrictions in place.

China has about 170 million rural migrant workers employed away from their hometowns, many of whom could not return to work as enterprises across the country began to resume production on Feb. 10.

In response, local governments have arranged chartered flights and trains to take workers directly to the factories while issuing subsidies to tide companies over difficulties. By early March, the southern manufacturing heartland Guangdong Province had seen 91.2 percent of firms resume operation.

Almost every sector of Chinese society has chipped in on the anti-virus fight, from barbers offering medics free haircuts to factories revamping their assembly lines to produce medical masks.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s output of protective clothing has surged to 500,000 pieces per day from fewer than 20,000 pieces at the beginning of the outbreak. The daily output of N95-rated medical masks rose from 200,000 to 1.6 million, while that of regular masks reached 100 million.

“China’s economic and social development over the past decade has laid a sound foundation for the fight against the epidemic and enabled the society to mobilize more quickly,” said Tang Bei, an international public health researcher at Shanghai International Studies University.

China’s tech boom also made contributions — tech companies rolled out disinfecting robots, thermal camera-equipped drones and AI-powered temperature measurement equipment, which have been rapidly deployed to reduce the risks of cross-infection.

The outbreak has led to what is being called “the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.” The number of online meetings supported by Tencent Meeting on Feb. 10, when most enterprises started resuming work, was 100 times that of its previous average daily use.

Lu Chuanying, a researcher with Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said digital technologies have risen to the fore, not only in the country’s anti-virus efforts but also in the recovery of the virus-hit economy.

“Remote consultations, artificial intelligence and big data were used to contain the epidemic, while telecommuting, online education and online vegetable markets have kept our lives in quarantine going,” Lu said.

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Featured image: People enjoy sunset on a plank road at the Donghu Lake in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, March 18, 2020. No new infections of the novel coronavirus were reported on Wednesday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, marking a notable first in the city’s months-long battle with the microscopic foe. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan)The original source of this article is XinhuaCopyright © XinhuaXinhua, 2020

China locked in hybrid war with US

Photo: AFP
China locked in hybrid war with US

Via The Saker

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Fallout from Covid-19 outbreak puts Beijing and Washington on a collision course

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made his position clear. Photo: AFP

Among the myriad, earth-shattering geopolitical effects of coronavirus, one is already graphically evident. China has re-positioned itself. For the first time since the start of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, Beijing openly regards the US as a threat, as stated a month ago by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference during the peak of the fight against coronavirus.

Beijing is carefully, incrementally shaping the narrative that, from the beginning of the coronovirus attack, the leadership knew it was under a hybrid war attack. Xi’s terminology is a major clue. He said, on the record, that this was war. And, as a counter-attack, a “people’s war” had to be launched.

Moreover, he described the virus as a demon or devil. Xi is a Confucianist. Unlike some other ancient Chinese thinkers, Confucius was loath to discuss supernatural forces and judgment in the afterlife. However, in a Chinese cultural context, devil means “white devils” or “foreign devils”: guailo in Mandarin, gweilo in Cantonese. This was Xi delivering a powerful statement in code.

When Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, voiced in an incandescent tweet the possibility that “it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan” – the first blast to this effect to come from a top official – Beijing was sending up a trial balloon signaliing that the gloves were finally off. Zhao Lijian made a direct connection with the Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019, which included a delegation of 300 US military.

He directly quoted US CDC director Robert Redfield who, when asked last week whether some deaths by coronavirus had been discovered posthumously in the US, replied that  “some cases have actually been diagnosed this way in the US today.”

Zhao’s explosive conclusion is that Covid-19 was already in effect in the US before being identified in Wuhan – due to the by now fully documented inability of US to test and verify differences compared with the flu.

Adding all that to the fact that coronavirus genome variations in Iran and Italy were sequenced and it was revealed they do not belong to the variety that infected Wuhan, Chinese media are now openly  asking questions and drawing a connection with the shutting down in August last year of the “unsafe” military bioweapon lab at Fort Detrick, the Military Games, and the Wuhan epidemic. Some of these questions had been asked – with no response – inside the US itself.

Extra questions linger about the opaque Event 201 in New York on October 18, 2019: a rehearsal for a worldwide pandemic caused by a deadly virus – which happened to be coronavirus. This magnificent coincidence happened one month before the outbreak in Wuhan.

Event 201 was sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the CIA, Bloomberg, John Hopkins Foundation and the UN.  The World Military Games opened in Wuhan on the exact same day.

Irrespective of its origin, which is still not conclusively established, as much as Trump tweets about the “Chinese virus,” Covid-19 already poses immensely serious questions about biopolitics (where’s Foucault when we need him?) and bio-terror.

The working hypothesis of coronavirus as a very powerful but not Armageddon-provoking bio-weapon unveils it as a perfect vehicle for widespread social control – on a global scale.

Cuba rises as a biotech power

Just as a fully masked Xi visiting the Wuhan frontline last week was a graphic demonstration to the whole planet that China, with immense sacrifice, is winning the “people‘s war” against Covid-19, Russia, in a Sun Tzu move on Riyadh whose end result was a much cheaper barrel of oil, helped for all practical purposes to kick-start the inevitable recovery of the Chinese economy. This is how a strategic partnership works.

The chessboard is changing at breakneck speed. Once Beijing identified coronavirus as a bio-weapon attack the “people’s war” was launched with the full force of the stateMethodically. On a “whatever it takes” basis. Now we are entering a new stage, which will be used by Beijing to substantially recalibrate the interaction with the West, and under very different frameworks when it comes to the US and the EU.

Soft power is paramount. Beijing sent an Air China flight to Italy carrying 2,300 big boxes full of masks bearing the script, “We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.” China also sent a hefty humanitarian package to Iran, significantly aboard eight flights from Mahan Air – an airline under illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic could not have been more explicit: “The only country that can help us is China. By now, you all understood that European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairy tale on paper.”

Under harsh sanctions and demonized since forever, Cuba is still able to perform breakthroughs – even on biotechnology. The anti-viral Heberon – or Interferon Alpha 2b – a therapeutic, not a vaccine, has been used with great success in the treatment of coronavirus. A joint venture in China is producing an inhalable version, and at least 15 nations are already interested in importing the therapeutic.

Now compare all of the above with the Trump administration offering $1 billion to poach German scientists working at biotech firm Curevac, based in Thuringia, on an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, to have it as a vaccine “only for the United States.”

Social engineering psy-op?

Sandro Mezzadra, co-author with Brett Neilson of the seminal The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism, is already trying to conceptualize where we stand now in terms of fighting Covid-19.

We are facing a choice between a Malthusian strand – inspired by social Darwinism – “led by the Johnson-Trump-Bolsonaro axis” and, on the other side, a strand pointing to the “requalification of public health as a fundamental tool,” exemplified by China, South Korea and Italy. There are key lessons to be learned from South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

The stark option, Mezzadra notes, is between a “natural population selection,” with thousands of dead, and “defending society” by employing “variable degrees of authoritarianism and social control.” It’s easy to imagine who stands to benefit from this social re-engineering, a 21st century remix of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

Amid so much doom and gloom, count on Italy to offer us Tiepolo-style shades of light. Italy chose the Wuhan option, with immensely serious consequences for its already fragile economy. Quarantined Italians remarkably reacted by singing on their balconies: a true act of metaphysical revolt.

Not to mention the poetic justice of the actual St. Corona (“crown” in Latin) being buried in the city of Anzu since the 9th century. St. Corona was a Christian killed under Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD, and has been for centuries one of the patron saints of pandemics.

Not even trillions of dollars raining from the sky by an act of divine Fed mercy were able to cure Covid-19. G-7 “leaders” had to resort to a videoconference to realize how clueless they are – even as China’s fight against coronavirus gave the West a head start of several weeks.

Shanghai-based Dr. Zhang Wenhongone of China’s top infectious disease experts, whose analyses have been spot on so far, now says China has emerged from the darkest days in the “people’s war” against Covid-19. But he does not think this will be over by summer. Now extrapolate what he’s saying to the Western world.

It’s not even spring yet, and we already know it takes a virus to mercilessly shatter the Goddess of the Market. Last Friday, Goldman Sachs told no fewer than 1,500 corporations that there was no systemic risk. That was false.

New York banking sources told me the truth: systemic risk became way more severe in 2020 than in 1979, 1987 or 2008 because of the hugely heightened danger that the $1.5 quadrillion derivative market would collapse.

As the sources put it, history had never before seen anything like the Fed’s intervention via its little understood elimination of commercial bank reserve requirements, unleashing a potential unlimited expansion of credit to prevent a derivative implosion stemming from a total commodity and stock market collapse of all stocks around the world.

Those bankers thought it would work, but as we know by now all the sound and fury signified nothing. The ghost of a derivative implosion – in this case not caused by the previous possibility, the shutting down of the Strait of Hormuz – remains.

We are still barely starting to understand the consequences of Covid-19 for the future of neoliberal turbo-capitalism. What’s certain is that the whole global economy has been hit by an insidious, literally invisible circuit breaker. This may be just a “coincidence.” Or this may be, as some are boldly arguing, part of a possible, massive psy-op creating the perfect geopolitlcal and social engineering environment for full-spectrum dominance.

Additionally, along the hard slog down the road, with immense, inbuilt human and economic sacrifice, with or without a reboot of the world-system, a more pressing question remains: will imperial elites still choose to keep waging full-spectrum-dominance hybrid war against China?

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