By Robert A. Vella
The coronavirus pandemic is not subsiding contrary to what some politicians want us to believe. In fact, new infections are increasing worldwide (see: Pandemic far from over as WHO projects largest single-day increase in new cases) especially in countries such as Brazil, Russia, the U.S., and the U.K. It is no coincidence that those four nations, which have the highest number of COVID-19 cases, are all led by right-wing authoritarian leaders who – to varying degrees – have refused to take this public health crisis seriously and are prioritizing other issues better suited to their political agendas.
Everyone understands the economic imperative. People and businesses won’t be able to survive much longer if they cannot return to usual activities. The danger of a prolonged economic collapse is very real and daunting. I wish we humans were capable of transitioning to a more sustainable social system, but we’ve repeatedly demonstrated no such ability. Intelligent long-term thinking is not one of our strongest attributes. And, that is a profoundly disturbing revelation because winning the war against this virus provides our best chance for a return to normalcy. Unfortunately, we are too myopic, too reactionary, too full of pride, and frankly too stupid to see the forest from the trees. Scientists can because they are trained to, and it must be painfully frustrating for them to be confronted by human intransigence when so much is at stake.
So, we will plow forward with blinders on. The human suffering and lives to be lost will be trivialized as the cost of doing business and as necessary to preserve what we imagine ourselves to be. However, those costs will not come cheaply. Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The consequences of a prolonged pandemic will severely impact both the economic recovery and various political fortunes. In the following images, pay particular attention to the number of new global infections (extracted from the Johns Hopkins University website) and the comparison of the four countries cited above with a nation which acted quickly and aggressively to combat the pandemic (i.e. South Korea – note that the graph is in logarithmic scale to better represent the trend in new cases).
Here’s the news:
South America has become “a new epicentre” of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said Friday, following a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections.
“In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease. We have seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases,” WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan told a virtual news conference.
“Clearly there is a concern across many of those countries, but clearly the most affected is Brazil at this point.”
The novel coronavirus death toll in Brazil surpassed 20,000 on Thursday, after a record number of fatalities in a 24-hour period, the health ministry said.
The coronavirus may still be spreading at epidemic rates in 24 states, particularly in the South and Midwest, according to new research that highlights the risk of a second wave of infections in places that reopen too quickly or without sufficient precautions.
Researchers at Imperial College London created a model that incorporates cellphone data showing that people sharply reduced their movements after stay-at-home orders were broadly imposed in March. With restrictions now easing and mobility increasing with the approach of Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer, the researchers developed an estimate of viral spread as of May 17.
It is a snapshot of a transitional moment in the pandemic and captures the patchwork nature across the country of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Some states have had little viral spread or “crushed the curve” to a great degree and have some wiggle room to reopen their economies without generating a new epidemic-level surge in cases. Others are nowhere near containing the virus.
A top Senate Democrat on Friday accused the Trump administration of treating military veterans as “guinea pigs,” after the Department of Veterans Affairs disclosed treating 1,300 coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine – a drug widely being used in clinical trials and touted by President Donald Trump, but that hasn’t yet been shown to be effective.
SHANGHAI — With its COVID-19 outbreak waning, nationalism rising at home and its antagonists in the Trump administration preoccupied by the pandemic and election-year politics, the Chinese Communist Party is boldly moving to crush a dangerous obstacle to its authority.
By imposing a new national security law on Hong Kong, Beijing signaled its determination to squelch a fierce anti-China protest movement — and demolished the longstanding firewall protecting the high-flying territory’s human rights and freedoms from interference from the authoritarian mainland.