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Wed, 08 Apr 2020
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Instacart workers in US begin nationwide walkout as Whole Foods workers plan sickout Tuesday

Workers for Instacart, a grocery shopping and delivery service, began a nationwide walkout in the United States today to protest the company's refusal to protect them or provide hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic. They have vowed not to return to work until the company meets their demands. Instacart employs more than 150,000 workers across the country.

The planned walkout is part of a nationwide and international fight by workers to demand safe conditions, including strikes and protests by Amazon workers, sanitation and public transit workers and workers in the auto, steel and meatpacking industries. Amazon workers in Staten Island plan to strike Monday, and workers at Whole Foods — also owned by Amazon — plan to strike Tuesday.

The coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for shopping and delivery services dramatically, as many people stay at home or in quarantine. Last week, Instacart announced plans to hire 300,000 new workers during the next three months to meet this demand.


UK media generating confusion about death of Chloe Middleton: Coroner says 21-year-old did NOT 'die from Covid-19' - UPDATE: Guardian deletes article

Chloe Middleton
© Facebook
Chloe Middleton was taken to hospital after a heart attack, but attempts to resuscitate her failed.

Comment: Note: This article has been scrubbed by the Guardian. The original link now says "This article was removed on 28 March 2020 pending review."

The death of 21-year-old Chloe Middleton - the UK's youngest coronavirus victim, her family believe - has not been recorded in the official toll because of confusion about how she died, the Guardian can reveal.

Middleton was taken to Wexham Park hospital in Slough last Thursday after having a heart attack. Attempts to resuscitate her failed and she was pronounced dead soon after arriving, a source said.

A Berkshire coroner said the death was related to Covid-19 after being told Middleton had a cough, the source said. But this surprised medics at the hospital, who have not recorded it as a coronavirus incident.

Comment: This just illustrates the complete hysteria around the current coronavirus outbreak. People are not acting rationally and officials are not being careful in how they are reporting deaths. To say that someone 'died of coronavirus' simply because they had a cough is completely irresponsible. And there's a very big difference between 'dying of coronavirus' and 'dying with coronavirus', a turn of phrase the media has been all too willing to exploit.

See also:

Red Flag

Megachurch pastor who promised to cure the US of coronavirus, arrested for service flouting social distancing

Rodney Howard-Browne
© Courtesy Hernando County Sheriff
Rodney Howard-Browne has been an outspoken opponent of social distancing requirements, claiming his church has machines that can stop the coronavirus.

A controversial Florida pastor who refused to stop holding packed church services, in violation of coronavirus restrictions, was arrested Monday by a local sheriff who said the preacher was putting his followers' lives at risk.

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was booked on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and violation of public health rules after flouting social distancing orders at The River at Tampa Bay church.

Howard-Browne — an ally of President Donald Trump — has been an outspoken opponent of social distancing requirements, claiming his church has machines that can stop the coronavirus and vowing to personally cure the state of Florida himself.


'Panic' among NHS staff with 25% off sick or isolating, fears over lack of protective equipment

© PA/Getty
stack of medi-visors at the Royal Mint, in Llantrisant, Wales, where workers have been preparing PPE for NHS staff
NHS workers are hiding masks and calling in sick because of fears over equipment shortages in the battle against coronavirus, doctors have claimed.

Hospital staff are taking the drastic measures amid a reported shortage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to treat sufferers of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The news comes as the head of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) revealed that one in four NHS doctors are off work sick or in isolation.

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the RCP, said that roughly 25% of the doctor workforce is off, either with coronavirus or because a family member or housemate is ill.

Comment: Unnecessary self isolation means fewer hospital workers which is leading to increased unnecessary chaos and, in all likelihood, will result in more deaths: In the US an evangelical pastor has been arrested for ignoring quarantine orders:
An evangelical pastor in Florida was arrested Monday for "repeatedly" ignoring confinement orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus by holding services with hundreds of people, police said.

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, 58, was arrested for unlawful assembly and violating quarantine orders while holding two services on Sunday in the eastern Florida city of Tampa, prison records show.

The pastor "intentionally and repeatedly disregarded state and local public health orders, which put his congregation and our community in danger," tweeted Hillsborough County sheriff Chad Chronister.

Howard-Browne, a staunch supporter of US President Donald Trump, does not believe the COVID-19 disease is serious and accused the press of "stirring up religious bigotry and hate."

He considers his church, The River at Tampa Bay Church, to be an essential service that must remain open during the pandemic.

Danial Defoe in his Journal of the Plague Year - written during an actual outbreak of plague in 1664 - noted that church services continued even during times when the plague 'raged'.

Following an arrest warrant, Howard-Browne turned himself in and was released less than an hour later on $500 bail.

As of Monday, Florida has 5,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 63 dead.


Store throws out $35,000 in food after woman coughs on it

cough coronavirus
A woman purposely coughed on $35,000 worth of food at a Pennsylvania grocery store, police said. She likely faces criminal charges for coughing, one of the primary ways the novel coronavirus spreads.

The unnamed woman entered small grocery chain Gerrity's Supermarket in Hanover Township and started coughing on produce, bakery items, meat and other merchandise, chain co-owner Joe Fasula wrote on Facebook.

Staff quickly removed her from the store and called Hanover Township Police, who found her a few hours later and took her into custody, Police Chief Albert Walker told CNN.

Comment: The world has lost its mind. While intentionally coughing on food is pretty sick, so is throwing away $35,000 of food because of a hyped-up virus. Would they be throwing this food away if one of their customers had the flu and touched it?

See also:


Manolis Glezos, a hero of the Greek resistance passes away

Manolis Glezos

Standing alone in the rain, and with the support of a cane, Manolis Glezos pays tribute to the dead of the 1973 Students’ Uprising at the Polytechnic University in downtown Athens.
Manolis Glezos, left-wing politician and resistance fighter during WWII, died from heart failure at the age of 98 in Athens on Monday.

While he is most known for hoisting the Greek flag at the Acropolis while the country was under German Occupation, Mr Glezos had a long history in the resistance movement and took part in the struggle for Greek freedom.

Comment: It is quite symbolic that all his life he fought against fascism and his heart stopped in the middle of the greatest fascist take over Greece - and the world - has ever seen.

Mr Glezos was born in the village of Apiranthos, Naxos in 1922, and he participated in the creation of an anti-fascist youth movement against the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese and the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas in 1939. He was admitted to the Higher School of Economic and Commercial Studies (know known as the Athens University of Economics and Business) in 1940, and served as a volunteer for the Hellenic Ministry of Economics after being rejected to serve the Greek army in the Albanian front against Italy because he did not meet the age requirements. During the Axis occupation of Greece he worked for the Hellenic Red Cross and continued to work for the resistance movement.

Comment: What the above article doesn't mention is that Glezos left Syriza as soon as Tsipras betrayed the people after the referendum in 2015.
Glezos publicly apologized in January of 2016 for having trusted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after the government negotiated a painful third financial bailout. The political veteran remarked at that time "I'm not disappointed, I'm furious."

Brick Wall

Peter Hitchens: There's powerful evidence this great panic is foolish, yet our freedom is still broken and our economy crippled

drone shaming quarantine UK

Many will have seen the films, pictured, taken by Derbyshire (UK) police drones, of lonely walkers on the remote, empty hills, publicly pillorying them for not obeying the regulations. It is genuinely hard to see what damage these walkers have done.
As I watched the Prime Minister order mass house arrest on Monday night, I felt revulsion, anger and grief - as anyone brought up when this was a free and well-governed country would. I also felt terribly alone.

You could not have known, from anything broadcast that night or printed the following day, that anyone was unhappy with these events. But they were.

So, above all things this week, I would like to thank all the kind, perplexed people who have got in touch with me by so many means, to say they share my doubts about the Government's handling of Covid-19.

Comment: See also:


10 MORE Experts Criticising the Coronavirus Panic

experts covid
Following on from our previous list, here are ten more expert voices, drowned out or disregarded by the mainstream narrative, offering their take on the coronavirus outbreak.

* * *

Dr. Sunetra Gupta et al. are an Oxford-based research team constructing an epidemiological model for the coronavirus outbreak, their paper has yet to be peer-reviewed, but the abstract is available online.

Dr Gupta is a Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford with an interest in infectious disease agents that are responsible for malaria, HIV, influenza and bacterial meningitis. She is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Scientific Medal by the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award for her scientific research.

What they say:

Comment: 12 Experts Question The Need For a Global Coronavirus Lockdown


Yes, 12 world experts really did question the need for panic: Countering official claims of 'high COVID-19 mortality rates'

pandemic map
The below features comment from reader Vijay Vallamudi in quote boxes, with FRN's brief responses to his points raised. His objections to OffGuardian's coverage are well-intentioned, we've vetted his interactions on Disqus and Medium, and he seems genuine. Our responses to his points are below each point.

The article in question appeared first on OffGuardian and was reproduced on FRN days later.

While we aren't experts on this subject of virology, pandemics, or public responses to these, we've accurately covered any number of ongoing wars, crises, and world events and there has never been an exception where the military-media-intelligence nexus wasn't involved. There has rarely been a case where we've had to retract a story entirely, aside from updating facts, figures, locations and other 'fog of war' elements that come as a part of war coverage.

As we've been featured in US Senate Senate Intelligence Committee reports on the subject of propaganda and democratic processes, have been targeted and smeared directly by Atlantic Council projects, and have nevertheless survived to tell the world about the situations in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela and beyond, and members of our editorial team have often been featured on foreign televised media to give expert assessment of these world events, we believe we are at least in the position to speak to the media-intelligence aspects of this phenomenon, which several of the experts in the referenced article above have described as 'hysteria'.

We encourage a robust conversation about this pandemic, its consequences on public health, civil liberties, economic justice, transparency, and fundamental challenges it poses to whatever democratic institutions may still exist. - J. Flores

Comment: See also:


Company charged millions for pro-America ads that never aired in Afghanistan, lawsuit alleges

billboard in Ghazni
A billboard in Ghazni promotes coalition action in Afghanistan in 2010
An information operations contractor billed the Pentagon millions of dollars for pro-U.S. television and radio ads that never aired in Afghanistan, a whistleblower complaint filed by the firm's former president alleges in a recently unsealed lawsuit.

The Leonie Group, also known as Leonie Industries, served as the Pentagon's top propaganda producer in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2015, with the firm receiving a $120 million contract to produce TV, radio and billboard ads, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit, first filed in July 2017, alleges Leonie knew it had no way to verify its work was ever seen by the Afghan people.

Once the company started to monitor its programs at the urging of the U.S. military in 2014, it found less than 75% of its TV ads and 45% of its radio ads aired, court documents said.