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Wed, 08 Apr 2020
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Coronavirus lockdown: We are so afraid of death, no one even asks whether this 'cure' is actually worse

social distancing
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." The words are Franklin D Roosevelt's. His challenge was recession, not disease, but his words have a wider resonance.

Fear is dangerous. It is the enemy of reason. It suppresses balance and judgment. And it is infectious. Roosevelt thought government was doing too little. But today fear is more likely to push governments into doing too much, as democratic politicians run for cover in the face of public panic. Is the coronavirus the latest and most damaging example?

Epidemics are not new. Bubonic plague, smallpox, cholera, typhoid, meningitis, Spanish flu all took a heavy toll in their time. An earlier generation would not have understood the current hysteria over Covid-19, whose symptoms are milder and whose case mortality is lower than any of these.

Red Flag

Tracking site suggests White House model is overestimating coronavirus hospitalization

Deborah Birx
© MANDEL NGAN / Contributor
Deborah Birx
Web site that tracks actual hospital beds in use suggests the model used by top White House health officials to project the trajectory of the coronavirus has so far overestimated the number of Americans hospitalized by the disease by tens of thousands.

Those projections, popularly known as the "Murray" model after the model's lead author, University of Washington professor Christopher Murray, were explicitly cited by Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, at a press conference in the last week.

Birx told reporters that Murray's model, which predicts a shortage of tens of thousands of hospital beds throughout the country by the middle of April, underscored the task force's "concern that we had with the growing number of potential fatalities" based on the model's projections.

Eye 1

Stepmother charged with murdering 11-year-old boy after claiming he was kidnapped and she was raped by intruder

Letecia and Gannon Stauch
It was January 27 when 11-year-old Gannon Stauch disappeared from his Colorado Springs home. He missed school that day, and his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, reported him missing shortly before 7 p.m. that night.

Letecia's story about what happened the day Gannon disappeared kept changing, and despite her interviews with the media where she denied she had anything to do with the little boy's disappearance, she was arrested a month after she reported him missing and charged with his murder.

Letecia initially said that Gannon left their home around 3:15 p.m. on the day he disappeared to walk to his friend's house, but when he didn't come home for two hours, she reported him missing, The Daily Beast reported. A neighbor would later tell police his home-security video showed Letecia and Gannon leaving their family home that morning and Letecia returning home alone hours later.


Trump touts anti-malaria drug as Covid-19 cure, urges India to lift export ban

© Reuters / Lindsey Wasson
Praising the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for Covid-19 and claiming he would take a pill himself, if infected, US President Donald Trump has urged Indian PM Narendra Modi to lift a ban on its exports.

The federal government has already accumulated some 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in its national stockpiles, and is seeking to acquire more, even though the drug's effectiveness against Covid-19 is still being tested and remains questionable.

"After a call today with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is giving serious consideration to releasing the hold it put on a US order for hydroxychloroquine," Trump announced at a White House coronavirus task force briefing.

China's exports of key medical supplies rise to $1.5 BILLION amid global shortage of anti-virus gear

As the coronavirus landed in Europe and the US, the former epicenter of the outbreak, China, has exported to other countries medical supplies worth $1.45 billion (10.2 billion yuan) to battle the deadly pandemic.

The key supplies, including billions of masks, millions of protection suits and infrared temperature detectors, as well as 16,000 units of ventilators, were sent overseas in one month from March 1 to April 4, the country's General Administration of Customs announced on Sunday, according to state-linked outlet Global Times.

According to Chinese Ministry of Commerce, exports of medical supplies have been increasing and the government is not going to impose any restrictions on the vital shipments. As of Saturday, 54 countries and 3 international organizations inked commercial procurement contracts for medical supplies with Beijing.

Apparently reacting to the some reports that the European countries received faulty medical supplies, the ministry said that Chinese producers caught sending medical goods with quality problems will face "severe" punishment.

Arrow Down

Coronavirus death rate much lower than previously reported, study says

medical worker
The coronavirus may not be as deadly as previously suggested, according to a new study that accounts for cases that were not diagnosed.

The study published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases estimated that the death rate will be 0.66%, which is much lower than figures between 2% and 3.4% that have come out of Wuhan, China, according to CNN.

Researchers said the lower coronavirus mortality rate was determined by accounting for cases that went undiagnosed — possibly because they were mild or had no symptoms.


More than a quarter of a million people have now recovered from Covid-19

recovery coronavirus covid-19 patient
© Reuters/David Ryder
90-year-old Geneva Wood leaving a Seattle hospital after recovering from Covid-19.
Perhaps the most under-reported statistic in the entire coronavirus pandemic passed an important milestone on Sunday as 250,000 were marked as having recovered from the illness.

The onward march of the death toll and number of confirmed cases has prompted countless hours of media coverage, as the virus spread around the globe. However, the number of people who are officially recorded as having recovered from the disease receives far less attention.

The important stat climbed past the quarter of a million barrier (to 252,478) on Sunday, as more than 20 percent of confirmed carriers of the virus have officially overcome the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Comment: Italy, whose elderly population was particularly hard hit, is reporting a drop both in fatalities and in the number of patients in intensive care.
The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care has fallen in Italy for the first time since the outbreak began, while the number of new deaths also declined slightly, but remains high at 681 cases in 24 hours.

The number of Covid-19 patients requiring intensive care in Italy fell by 74 between Friday and Saturday, marking the first time that number has declined since the pandemic reached the country in mid-February. Just under 4,000 patients in Italy are now in a serious or critical condition.

The country remains one of the hardest-hit in Europe, though authorities are beginning to see some faint rays of hope. A total of 681 deaths were reported since Friday, compared to 762 the previous day. Deaths peaked the previous Friday, with 919 people succumbing to the virus in one day.

Heart - Black

Somali outrage at rape of girls aged three and four

Somali woman
Reports of rape have increased in Somalia in recent years
The government in Somalia has condemned the abduction and rape of two girls aged just three and four.

The doctor in charge of the hospital where they are being treated says they need major surgery.

An official said several arrests had been made following the attack which happened on Wednesday.

The parents say that the two cousins were walking home from school in Afgoye, close to the capital, Mogadishu.

Bad Guys

Taliban warn peace deal with US near breaking point

Taliban US officials
© AP Photo/Hussein Sayed
In this Feb. 29, 2020 file photo, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group's top political leader sign a peace agreement between Taliban and U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar. The Taliban in a statement Sunday, April 5, 2020, said that a peace deal they signed with the United States is near breaking point accusing Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while chastising the Afghan government for dithering on the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, promised in the agreement.
The Taliban in a statement Sunday said their peace deal with the United States was nearing a breaking point, accusing Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while also chastising the Afghan government for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners promised in the agreement.

The Taliban said they had restricted attacks against Afghan security forces to rural outposts, had not attacked international forces and had not attacked Afghan forces in cities or military installations. The Taliban said these limits on their attacks had not been specifically laid out in the agreement with the U.S. signed in February.

The Taliban warned of more violence if the U.S. and the Afghan government continue alleged violations of the deal.

Comment: The long and short of this is that the US is likely making deals with the Taliban with little Afghan partnership. The US does not see Afghanistan as an independent entity and they are pawns just as the Taliban are. By negotiating bad-faith deals, the US ensures ongoing conflict, which provides it for an excuse for continued control of the country.


COVID-19 lockdown: Man kills 5 people for 'talking loudly' in central Russia's Ryazan region

Russia's Ryazan
The crime scene in Russia's Ryazan
A man in central Russia shot and killed five people for talking noisily at night under his windows, investigators said Sunday.

The shootings took place in the Ryazan region during stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

A 32-year-old man from the small town of Yelatma opened fire on a group of four young men and a woman who "were talking loudly in the street under his windows" at around 10 p.m. on Saturday, investigators said.

Bad Guys

Hezbollah commander, allegedly close to slain Quds head Soleimani, assassinated in Lebanon

hezbollah troops lebanon
© Associated Press/ Mohammed Zaatari
Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial of their slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani was killed on 3 January, when the US military conducted a drone airstrike on Baghdad International Airport that had been authorised by President Donald Trump "aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans".

Iranian outlet Tasnim on Sunday reported that Hezbollah leader Ali Mohammed Younis was assassinated in southern Lebanon overnight.

According to reports, his body was found by the side of a road with stab and gunshot wounds between the towns of Qaqiyat al-Jisr and Zutar al-Gharbiya to the south of Nabatiyeh.