New shrew species discovery in Indonesia

This 2017 video is called Ferocious Shrews Fight For Mating Rights | Life Of Mammals | BBC Earth.

From Louisiana State University in the USA:

The naming of the shrew

Researchers discover the Sulawesi hairy-tailed shrew

March 11, 2020

Researchers at Louisiana State University have discovered a new species of shrew, which they have named the hairy-tailed shrew, or Crocidura caudipilosa.

“There was no doubt that this was a new species,” said LSU Museum of Natural Science Mammal Curator Jake Esselstyn whose work on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia led to the discovery published in the Journal of Mammalogy. “There isn’t another species on the island that has as much hair on its tail, in terms of shrews.”

The newly discovered shrew is slender with gray-brown fur on its back and silver-gray fur on its belly. Its tail is slightly longer than the combined length of its head and body and is covered with long bristles and hair, which make the distinctive tail very hirsute. In fact, no other shrew species in Indonesia, Malaysia or the Philippines is known to have such thick, long hair on its tail; however, some shrew species in Africa have very hairy tails. The scientists were also surprised to discover that this shrew climbs trees whereas most shrews live primarily on the ground, as far as anyone knows.

The Sulawesi hairy-tailed shrew was found on nine mountains across Sulawesi at various elevations from 1,500 feet to 4,800 feet.

“Tropical diversity is still not well documented even for mammals with a wide distribution on this island. This discovery shows how little we still know about mammal diversity,” Esselstyn said.

Puzzling pieces

The real challenge was figuring out which shrew is its closest relative and how this new species fits into the shrew family tree. Shrews‘ features do not change very much over time, which means closely related species tend to look very similar and are hard to distinguish from each other. This has posed a challenge for mammalogists in the past to discover new shrew species.

“Genetic data have revolutionized what we can distinguish between shrews. A lot of species are first recognized as being genetically distinct, then we look at its morphology, or physical features,” Esselstyn said.

Deforestation and degradation of natural habitats have also posed a challenge for discovering new species. For example, a few shrew specimens were collected in the early 20th century, but when scientists return to the same location where the early specimens were collected, the habitat is no longer a forest. It is a farm.

Despite these challenges, Esselstyn and his colleagues and students have also discovered several new mammals in Indonesia including the hog-nosed rat, the Sulawesi water rat and the slender root rat as well as the sky island moss shrew in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, at the LSU Museum of Natural Science, they continue to search and analyze specimens for more new species and to help put the pieces of the large tree of life puzzle together.

Bernie Sanders keeps fighting

This 11 March 2020 CBS TV from the USA says about itself:

Bernie Sanders says he’s staying in presidential race

From presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the USA today:

A short while ago, I gave a brief statement to the press about our campaign, and where we go from here. I want to share some of those thoughts with you today, and to ask you, once again, for your financial support.

Let me start by saying that last night was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view.

We lost the largest state of the night, Michigan, but we won in North Dakota and currently lead in the state of Washington, the second largest state of the evening.

But what has become more and more apparent, with each passing primary, is that while we are currently trailing in the delegate count, we are strongly winning the debate about the future of our country.

In poll after poll after poll, including exit polls, a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda.

The American people are deeply concerned about the grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality in this country.

The American people believe it is time for the wealthy and profitable corporations to be paying their fair share.

The American people understand that the federal minimum wage is a starvation wage and that it is time to raise it to a living wage of $15 an hour – nothing less.

The American people understand that if our kids are going to make it into the middle class, we must make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free.

The American people understand that we cannot continue a cruel and dysfunctional health care system where we are spending twice as much per capita as any other nation, yet 87 million of our neighbors remain uninsured and underinsured.

And that last point is becoming more and more obvious to the American people as we face the challenge of the coronavirus. Imagine a pandemic where 87 million people have a difficult time going to a doctor.

The American people understand that climate change is an existential threat to our planet and we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels.

The American people understand that we need to transform our broken and racist criminal justice and immigration system that locks up four times as many people as communist China and leaves millions here at home living in fear.

But it is not just the ideological debate we are winning.

We are winning the generational debate as well.

While Joe Biden does well with older Americans, especially those over 65 years old, our campaign continues to win a vast majority of younger people in this country.

But while we are winning — very clearly — the ideological debate, we are losing, right now, the electability debate.

I cannot tell you how many people I and our campaign have spoken to that tell me that they like what our campaign stands for but they are going to vote for Joe Biden because they believe he is the best candidate to beat Trump.

Needless to say, I strongly disagree.

So, on Sunday, I very much look forward to debating Joe Biden about these issues in Arizona. This will be the first 1-on-1 debate of this campaign, and I am eager for the American people to see which candidate — which agenda — is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.

Thank you again for everything you have done to support our campaign so far. Let’s go forward together.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Paid for by Bernie 2020

(not the billionaires)

PO BOX 391, Burlington, VT 05402

Hummingbird sized dinosaur discovery in amber

This 11 March 2020 video says about itself:

A tiny new species of bird-like dinosaur has been discovered, preserved in a lump of 99-million-year-old amber. The tooth-filled skull is only 7.1mm long, suggesting that this ancient creature would have been the size of a hummingbird – far smaller than other dinosaurs known from that time. Unusual features include large, side-facing eyes and a large number of sharp teeth suggesting a predatory lifestyle. The species has been named Oculudentavis khaungraae and is evidence of previously unimagined biodiversity in the Mesozoic era.

By Michael Greshko in National Geographic:

March 11, 2020

A spectacular new amber fossil from Myanmar holds the skull of the smallest prehistoric dinosaur ever found: a bird-like creature that lived 99 million years ago and grew no bigger than the smallest birds alive today.

The fossil, described today in the journal Nature, measures just 1.5 centimeters long from the back of the head to the tip of the snout, about the width of a thumbnail. The skull’s proportions suggest that the animal was about the same size as a bee hummingbird, which would have made the newfound dinosaur lighter than a dime.

The tiny creature appears to be most closely related to the feathered dinosaurs Archaeopteryx and Jeholornis, distant cousins of modern birds. Researchers suspect that like those animals, the small dinosaur had feathery wings, but without more fossils, they can’t determine how well it flew. And despite its hummingbird-like proportions, the tiny dinosaur was no nectar feeder. Its upper jaw bristled with 40 sharp teeth, and its huge eyes—suited for spotting prey in the foliage—have features unlike any seen in other dinosaurs. Fittingly, the creature’s genus name is Oculudentavis, derived from the Latin words for eye, tooth, and bird.

A newly described fossil preserved in amber reveals that a 99-million-year-old creature called Oculudentavis, recently heralded as a hummingbird-size dinosaur, was more likely a bizarre type of lizard: here.

Pentagon covering up US soldiers with coronavirus

This 10 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Is The US Military Hiding Its Coronavirus Cases?

A military mom calls in with devastating news, her son stationed in Afghanistan is sick, but the military either won’t test or isn’t testing the troops for Covid-19.

What is at the bottom of the lack of testing for members of the military, are we keeping the United States military safe enough to keep America safe?

Ancient rangeomorph animal networks, new research

This 7 March 2020 video says about itself:

Rangeomorphs had no mouths, guts, arms, legs or reproductive organs, but an ancient “network” of strings may have helped them dominate the ocean floor anyway.

Some of the earliest animals on Earth may have used social networks to chat with each other, review food — and yes — maybe even sext.

In a study published Thursday (March 5) in the journal Current Biology, researchers looked at hundreds of rangeomorphs — bizarre, fern-like animals that lived in large colonies on the bottom of the ocean from about 571 million to 541 million years ago — fossilized along the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. To the team’s surprise, many of the fossil specimens appeared to be connected to each other by long, string-like filaments never seen among animals this old. Individual filaments spanned anywhere from a few inches to 13 feet in length and connected rangeomorphs from seven different species, forming a primitive “social network” of deep-sea dwellers.

These organisms seem to have been able to quickly colonize the seafloor, and we often see one dominant species on these fossil beds. These filaments may explain how they were able to do that.

Rangeomorphs are thought to be some of the earliest non-microscopic animals on Earth, spreading prolifically 635 million to 541 million years ago, despite having no noticeable mouths, guts, reproductive organs or means of moving around.

Scientists think the creatures dug into the mud on the ocean floor, passively sucking nutrients out of the water using symmetrical, leaf-like branches. Their methods worked well, apparently, as rangeomorph colonies dominated huge plots of the seafloor for 30 million years. Different species ranged from less than 1 inch to 6.5 feet in length, and some may have physically changed shape to better capitalize on the nutrients available around them.

Because rangeomorphs never really moved around, the fossil record includes entire colonies of the creatures preserved as they actually lived. When professor at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences Alexander Liu and his colleagues found fossilized filaments connecting rangeomorphs at 38 different dig sites, it became clear that this sinewy “network” played an important role in connecting individual colony members.

Further study of rangeomorph fossils is required to unravel the mystery of these filaments; alas, it seems this social network is password-protected.

See here. And here.

Coronavirus latest news

This 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Senator Bernie Sanders criticizes President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus during a campaign event near Detroit (March 9)

The spread of the coronavirus in the United States is rapidly developing into a social and economic catastrophe. The extent of the impact, including the possibility for an enormous loss of life, will emerge in the coming weeks. Already, however, the virus has exposed the consequences of the criminal level of neglect on the part of the ruling elite: here.

US nurses decry lack of planning and communication, equipment shortages in midst of COVID-19 spread. “I have a friend who just started working at Harlem Hospital and they are being told to reuse masks”: here.

Educators speak out on threat of coronavirus in US schools: here.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Tuesday and deployed the National Guard to New Rochelle, the suburb of New York City which now has the largest concentration of novel coronavirus cases in the United States, to enforce a “containment area”: here.

Italy emerging as the new epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic: here.

Thousands fell ill with coronavirus and hundreds died yesterday in Europe as the pandemic kept surging across the continent. As Italy—the epicenter of the pandemic in Europe—went into a nationwide lockdown aiming to halt the spread, regional quarantines were imposed in Spain, Greece, France and Germany, while the disease also tore through Scandinavia and entered into the Balkans: here.

Christine Assange, the mother of WikiLeaks’ publisher, Julian Assange, has warned that her son’s life is at heightened risk due to the danger he could contract the coronavirus infection in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison. After almost a decade of arbitrary-detention and the refusal of the authorities to provide him with adequate medical care, his immune system is severely compromised: here.

Spain puts Madrid, Basque country on lockdown as coronavirus cases multiply: here.

US sanctions on Iran turn coronavirus into a catastrophe: here.

Negligent Australian government response threatens widespread Covid-19 infection: here.

North American birds biodiversity, new research

This 2017 video says about itself:

The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America | The Great Courses

Look into six categories of bird behavior, as they provide vital information for identification. See how individual species are distinguished by typical or unique behavioral traits. Study the distinctive feeding habits of many species, and how we can recognize species from flight and flocking behavior. End by exploring the extraordinary mating and nesting customs of North American birds.

From Washington University in St. Louis in the USA:

Birds of a feather better not together

‘Homogenization’ threatens ecosystems at larger geographic scales

March 4, 2020

Diversity plays a key role in maintaining the stability of plant and animal life in an area. But it’s difficult to scale up smaller experiments to understand how changes will impact larger ecosystems.

A new study of North American birds from Washington University in St. Louis finds that the regional stability of ecosystems over time depends on both the total number of species present in a locality and on the variation in species identities among localities.

The results have implications for maintaining a diverse portfolio of local species in the face of major environmental threats — like climate change, biological invasions, intensifying land use and other human and natural disturbances. “Homogenization” may threaten ecosystems at larger geographic scales, the research suggests. The study is published March 4 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Species diversity is changing in more complicated ways than just going up or down, or the total number of species,” said lead author Christopher P. Catano, a recent PhD graduate of Washington University and current postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University. “One of the most critical and conspicuous ways that diversity is changing is by changing the distribution of species across space.”

Recent high-profile studies have tried to show how and why biodiversity is changing at regional to global scales. Scientists have sounded alarms about net losses of insect, fish, bird and plant species. Many fear that such losses may alter the functioning of ecosystems and upend their ability to provide critical goods and services that humans rely on.

“The study provides some of the first evidence to suggest that local biodiversity loss and biotic homogenization will impact the functioning and stability of ecosystems at macroscales,” said Jonathan Myers, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences.

A diverse portfolio — of birds

The greater the number of species in an ecosystem, the more that ecosystem tends to be stable. The general reason why this happens is something called an insurance effect.

In concept, it’s similar to why investors might want to have a diverse set of stocks in their portfolio. If one stock performs poorly, there’s a chance that it will be buffered by others that perform better than expected.

“Over time, these different stocks — or these different species, in the context of an ecosystem — can compensate for one another,” Catano said. “The fact that species may respond differently to the same environmental change is what gives that insurance effect.”

This idea is widely accepted by biologists. The basic mechanism has been confirmed by lots of studies over time, and it underlies many arguments to promote or conserve biodiversity.

But it’s not without its limitations. For example, much of the supporting research was conducted at a relatively small scale. One notable experiment was completed on plots of land that measured only about half as long as a bowling alley, each neatly planted with varying numbers and species of seeds.

Real life is not so clean. The ground is not perfectly flat, rivers cut through breeding areas, and animals and seeds travel across large areas. Ecosystem management often occurs within and across large tracts of land.

“At larger scales, it’s not just the number of species that’s potentially varying, it’s also the identity or the composition of those species across space,” Catano said.

“So there are two components to regional stability,” Catano said. “One is how stable your average local community is. And the second is how differently those local communities respond through time — relative to each other.”

Observations at a larger geographic scale

Catano and Myers decided to try to test the relative importance of these two factors — the number of species, and the amount of site-to-site variation in species composition — in determining the stability of ecosystems at a larger scale.

The researchers used 20 years of observational data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, a joint effort of the U.S. Geological Survey and Environment Canada. They focused on 342 species of songbirds in 1,675 breeding bird “communities” — the census-block-like geographic units routinely sampled in the Breeding Bird Survey — distributed across 35 large bird-conservation regions.

The researchers used the production of total bird biomass over time as their measure of ecosystem stability.

They found that species count does matter for stability — but site-to-site variation in species composition matters three times as much at the larger geographic scale of bird conservation regions.

And what happens at a larger scale with birds is likely to affect humans, too. “Birds are major consumers of insect pests that limit production of plants and therefore ecosystems. Also, a lot of plants are dependent on seed dispersal by birds,” Catano said. “There’s a lot of critical services that are mediated by birds.”

A landscape that supports variation

The results have implications for conservation, the researchers said.

Land use managers have a key role to play in promoting variation across an area, the researchers said, by taking advantage of management techniques that introduce or maintain environmental heterogeneity.

“An example might be through grazing,” Catano said. “Animals graze somewhat patchily, and those patches create meaningful variation in the composition of other species. Fire management, or controlled burns, is another measure that, when done appropriately, can increase the resource heterogeneity in an ecosystem.

“These are things that land managers and conservation practitioners are already doing,” he added. “This just cues them into this other dimension of biodiversity that’s often overlooked when they assess the success of their restoration or management effort.

“Changes that lead to something like biotic homogenization could be destabilizing for ecosystems, even if it doesn’t lead to the loss of species.”

‘Joe Biden may lose against Donald Trump’

This 10 March 2020 video from the USA is called Brace for Disaster in November: Biden Dominates on Mini Super Tuesday.

Joe Biden won many delegates in yesterday’s primary elections. If he will become the Democratic party presidential candidate, then he may well lose the November election to Donald Trump, like Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. Unless Trump does something unexpectedly stupid and Biden does something unexpectedly clever.

While Bernie Sanders might beat Trump.

It looks like the primary results are caused by elderly voters being over-represented. Young voters, who will have to deal most with the consequences of climate change, and who mainly vote for Sanders, were outvoted.

If Biden loses the election to Trump, then it will be four more years with climate disasters.

If Biden becomes president, then there will be no Green New Deal like Sanders advocates. There will probably be some small token pro-environment gestures which won’t hurt the profits of Biden’s fossil fuel sponsors.

Puerto Rican urban lizards evolution

This 2013 video is called Lizards at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan Puerto Rico.

From Washington University in St. Louis in the USA:

Hot time in the city: Urban lizards evolve heat tolerance

March 10, 2020

Faced with a gritty landscape of metal fences, concrete walls and asphalt pavement, city lizards in Puerto Rico rapidly and repeatedly evolved better tolerance for heat than their forest counterparts, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Studies that delve into how animals adapt in urban environments are still relatively rare. But anoles are becoming a model system for urban evolutionary research.

“Urban lizards are exposed to higher temperatures, consistent with the urban heat island effect,” said biologist Kristin Winchell, postdoctoral research associate in the Losos laboratory in Arts & Sciences. “We found that they are able to maintain their function at temperatures of about 0.82 degrees C (or 1.47 F) higher on average across all populations.”

In one population in this study, urban lizards were able to go about their business in temperatures above 40 C (104 F). That’s a lot of heat for a tiny animal — one that measures about 5 centimeters long, not including its tail.

“Better heat tolerance can make all the difference in an urban habitat,” Winchell said. “Whether it’s being able to stay active during longer parts of the day or being able to occupy perches that reach higher temperatures, it expands their niche space.”

This adaptive thermal response is even more interesting because only those lizards that grow up in the city seem to be able to tap into it — an example of natural selection favoring trait ‘plasticity,’ researchers said. The study is published March 9 in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

A hidden superpower

In previous work, Winchell showed that city lizards have evolved longer limbs and larger toepads with specialized scales. Both of these traits allow them to more effectively and quickly traverse urban habitats, allowing them to climb up smooth, painted walls.

Compared with these adaptations, thermal tolerance is a relatively complex trait. It affects multiple body systems and involves potentially hundreds of genes. And cold-blooded animals like these lizards also have the option to behaviorally regulate temperature — for example, by shuttling in and out of sun, or by changing the time of day when they hunt or look for mates.

Winchell’s partner for this effort, Shane Campbell-Staton, assistant professor at UCLA, is an expert at sussing out genomic aspects of thermal adaptation.

“A big part of this story is that the target of selection in urban heat islands is plasticity, the ability of an individual to respond adaptively to its environment,” Campbell-Staton said. “Individuals that are high responders — that is, those that can become more heat tolerant when raised in cities — are favored by natural selection. The major difference is that the adaptation only appears when an individual is born and raised in a city environment.

For example, when Winchell’s previous work showed that lizards with long limbs do better in cities, those individuals would have longer limbs no matter where they are raised.

“In contrast, differences in heat tolerance are hidden in a forest habitat and only show themselves when the proper genes are exposed to warm temperatures,” Campbell-Staton said. “It’s kind of like a hidden superpower that only presents itself in the right environment. We are only just beginning to understand how natural selection works on this type of trait to influence the process of evolution.”

Comparing city lizards to forest lizards

The ability to withstand more heat anytime, anyplace, is potentially a game-changer for Anolis cristatellus, the most abundant and visible species in urban environments of the 10 kinds of lizards that are found across Puerto Rico.

Winchell and her team studied 150 lizards from four municipalities across the island, including the capital San Juan. Each of these locations was part of a paired site: with one lizard collection area in the city, and the other in a nearby forest. The researchers also brought back some of the lizards to a laboratory setting at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where Winchell was a graduate student at the time.

The scientists relied on an established lizard research protocol that tests thermal tolerance as a measure of a lizard’s ability to right itself after being placed gently on its back. The researchers raised the temperature by small increments, and the trial ended when a lizard took too long to right itself. After the tests, a cool water bath helped bring the lizards comfortably back down to normal temperatures.

Separately, the researchers also took tissue samples from lizards exposed to cold, ambient and warm temperatures. Genetic tests revealed different patterns of gene expression in the tissues from city and forest lizards exposed to different temperatures.

Even more interesting, the researchers discovered a single gene variant that differed consistently between the city and forest populations — one that was associated with differences in thermal tolerance. The researchers believe that this indicates natural selection is selecting for the ability to respond to higher temperatures when needed, what they refer to as a ‘high-plasticity genotype.’

Rapid and repeated changes

“One of the unique and exciting things for me about this study is that we’re able to simultaneously address this question about the repeatability of evolution at several different levels of biological organization,” Campbell-Staton said.

“Starting at the whole organism level, we clearly see that urban lizards are able to maintain functioning at significantly higher temperatures than their forest counterparts.

“Then, when we look at all the genes that are being differentially expressed, we see pretty high repeatability in how those large suites of genes are changing as well,” he said. “But if you zoom in even further, we found not only a single gene, but what seems to be a single polymorphism that is repeatedly under selection in these urban heat islands as well, which is fascinating.”

By studying how animals adapt to different habitats, like life in the city, researchers have a unique opportunity to investigate traits that are environmentally dependent but influenced by an animal’s genetic makeup.

That dynamic is part of why Winchell says she is partial to A. cristatellus, which is abundant in urban areas not only in Puerto Rico, but outside of their native range in the southern United States and other parts of the Caribbean.

“I like to say they are urbanophilic, or urban-loving species,” Winchell said. “There are other terms that people use, like urban tolerant or urban-adapting. But I think urbanophilic captures it best. They’re exploiting novel niche space that isn’t present in the forest environment. But they’re not reliant on humans. If humans went away, they would still do fine.”

Anti-Asian racists abuse coronavirus epidemic

This 5 March 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus outbreak sparks xenophobia and racist attacks

The United Nations is calling for an end to the spread of misinformation about coronavirus. It’s leading to discrimination against Chinese people around the world. In New York City, Chinese-run businesses say they’ve seen a fall in customers as fears of contracting the virus keep people away. CGTN’s Sarah Walton explains the latest.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant, 11 March 2020:

Called and threatened, because “all Chinese have corona”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Asian people in the Netherlands have been the target of insults. And it is not only about cursing.

By Mark Misérus

The young woman who was pushed off her bike in Amsterdam because she is Chinese and “all Chinese have corona”.

If some people are stupid enough to believe that racist lie, then one might expect they would be at least ‘intelligent’ enough to avoid these supposedly ‘sick’ people instead of touching and attacking them. But no …

Like in the Middle Ages ‘black death’ plague epidemics were blamed on ‘witches’ …

The woman who coughed on the train from The Hague to Delft when a man stretched his legs and was then told that “your yellow monkeys have no idea of ​​hygiene.”

The student with Asian roots who was called “corona” when passing the carnival crowd in Maastricht, after which the crowd burst into a collective laughter.

Just a few examples of what people with an Asian appearance say they get treated like in the Netherlands in recent weeks. They are the target of discriminatory comments, people move away a few rows when they are on the tram or train. In a few cases, there is also (physical) violence involved and victims report to the police.

“It’s getting worse,” says Jiye Seong-Yu (29), a Korean interpreter-translator who works for a human rights organization. On March 1, she was at the police station herself, to report what had happened to her in the evening on a bicycle in The Hague.

Two men on a scooter drove towards her, they called something she could not understand because she had earplugs. When she took them out, they called her “Chinese”. And not only that: while the men drove right past her, the co-driver clenched his left fist and pulled out. He just missed hitting Seong-Yu, she told the police. Through camera images from a supermarket, she hopes to discover the identity of the perpetrators.


That two stranger men scold her because of her origin; it sparked her curiosity. She had already seen on Facebook that other Asians in the Netherlands are the target of ridicule and scorn, as if they are personally responsible for the spread of the virus.

“If we want to stop this, we have to prove that it happens,” says Seong-Yu. So she set up a survey via Google Forms and brought it to the attention of four Facebook groups, including for Korean expats in the Netherlands and abroad.

Her survey yielded more than 150 responses, in addition to the 234 Facebook messages after she had told her what had happened to her on the street. Korean expats and students made themselves heard, but also people with Indonesian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Malaysian roots who were born and raised here. They were also called “corona”, “corona-Chinese” or “murderer”, as happened to a young woman in Rijswijk.

Seong-Yu finds the low point of her poll the story of a Korean woman from Tiel who was almost home with her groceries when a man walked up to her and spit on the wheels of her pram. “Chinese viruses must die,” he said, the woman said. Just as poignant, says Seong-Yu: the Korean woman in Eindhoven, who had suddenly been sprayed with a Nazi symbol on the wall next to the front door.

A few of the responses in the Jiye Song survey:

“My son of 8 is Malay-Chinese-Dutch. A blond Dutch girl in the indoor playground called him corona. My son (fortunately smart) said: if I have the coronavirus, then you are now also infected. The girl got her mother, my son pretended not to hear her. ”

“A group of men shouted “corona” at me. One of them said: “I’ll give you 50 euros, then you will go back to your own country.”

“This happened a few weeks ago. Someone passed me by, looked at me and said, “Murderer. Killer.” And walked on. I could only stand still speechlessly while trying to understand what had happened.”

Stage of words passed

Seong-Yu is concerned about the responses to her survey. “It is becoming more and more physical, I also hear in my own network. If people say ching chong or Chinatown to me, that’s rude. Although I can still shake it off. But if they spit on your pram or a swastika is sprayed next to your front door, that is a lot harder. ”

Julie Ng, daughter of a Chinese-Indian restaurant owner and maker of the documentary We are more than babi pangang, also says that people with an Asian appearance are more often the targets of aggression and violence. “In the past it was all about words, but that stage is over. Just look at other examples in Europe.”

In London, a student was hit by a group of men who told him they didn’t want a corona in their country. In the Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, a Chinese man was cut with a glass after he was first denied access to a gas station “because he has the coronavirus”. In Birmingham, a young woman was beaten unconscious by a man when she had taken it up for her girlfriend, who had to “piss off” with her “corona.”

The South Korean embassy in Germany warns fellow countrymen to be vigilant for racial violent incidents after a Chinese woman was beaten into hospital by two other women.

The South Korean embassy in the Netherlands does the same, when it was shown the results of Seong-Yu’s survey. “Because of covid-19, Koreans and other Asians in the Netherlands have had to deal with mockery, they are shunned in public places, refused by taxis, physically attacked and other things. Be aware that Korean citizens can be the target of incidents and be aware of your environment”, the embassy announced on March 5.

Nose bleeding

The Japanese School of Amsterdam informed parents at the end of February of an incident at an indoor play paradise. Japanese children are said to have been called “corona” by “five to six” other children, one of them got a bloody nose during the fight. The school warns parents in the letter not to visit with their children places where other children play and not to go outside with a mouth cap (“locals may be after you”). “We are not blind to what happens,” the school says when asked. The school does not want to respond to the letter.

In Tilburg, a 24-year-old woman reported when she was in a lift two weeks ago with five men singing a corona song. When she said something about it, she was attacked by them. Chinese students also called in the police in Wageningen when they saw texts such as “Die Chinese” and “Chinese corona” in the elevator of their flat.

The police cannot provide figures for corona-related incidents. Victims of coronary racism rarely make themselves heard at the discrimination reporting points. Yes, three thousand people reported last month when Radio 10 DJ Lex Gaarthuis had played a carnival-like corona song, with lyrics like ‘it’s all because of those stinky Chinese’ and ‘don’t eat Chinese food, then you have nothing to fear, because prevention is better than the Chinese’.

Sharing experiences, making clear that you are not alone, that can help, according to Julie Ng. She spoke last week in Almere on an evening organized by the Equal Treatment Office in Flevoland, with the theme “We are not a virus”.

Ng: “It was nice to be able to share experiences with each other. A lot of frustration emerged. A Sino-Dutch man said that his son had come home after everything under the sun had been shouted at him. He said: Dad, I’m afraid you’ll have to pick me up at the police later. I’m sick of it, there will be some blows.”

Seong-Yu believes in a peaceful approach. She has been asked as a speaker at the Anti-Asian Racism Panel of Leiden University for next week. She will make a website from the results of her survey. “So that we don’t have to feel isolated and we can make clear to non-Asian people how widespread this is.”

Online anti-Semitism thrives around coronavirus, even on mainstream platforms: here.

Britain: MINISTERS will not be made to undergo testing for coronavirus, the government said today, despite Tory Health Minister Nadine Dorries becoming the first MP to be diagnosed with the illness: here.

U.S. VIRUS CASES HAVE DOUBLED IN 3 DAYS The novel coronavirus has infected more than 115,800 people — including at least 1,000 in the U.S. — and killed over 4,200 worldwide, according to CNN’s tally. Fewer than 7,000 Americans have been tested for the virus so far. All 60 million residents of Italy are facing travel checks, school closures and bans on public events, and the Bank of England slashed interest rates in an emergency move. President Donald Trump reportedly is considering a payroll tax cut — an idea that would face bipartisan opposition. [CNN]

REP. MATT GAETZ QUARANTINES HIMSELF IN WALMART LOT Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who was aboard Air Force One with Trump on Monday, picked an interesting place to quarantine himself during a coronavirus scare: a Walmart parking lot. The right-winger announced he was voluntarily isolating himself after learning that he’d come in contact at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference with someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. [HuffPost]

PRISONS ARE RIPE FOR CORONAVIRUS. THEY’RE NOT READY As the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe, prisons and jails have consistently been huge problem spots in places where the outbreaks are intense. As with any congregate setting, infectious diseases thrive in correctional facilities. But the difference in jails and prisons is that residents can neither fully self-quarantine nor leave and be fully quarantined elsewhere. [HuffPost]