COVID-19 disaster news update


This 22 September 2020 video says about itself:

Trump mocks 200,000 dead from coronavirus. John Iadarola and Emma Vigeland break it down on The Damage Report.

THE PLAGUE STATES OF AMERICA: 200,000 DEAD More than 200,000 people have now died from the coronavirus in the United States. The U.S. reached the grim pandemic milestone on Tuesday — amid growing concerns among medical professionals of a potential “perfect storm” for both COVID-19 and influenza infections as temperatures begin to dip in the Western Hemisphere. Doctors have been advising that adults and children older than 6 months get a flu vaccine as soon as possible to reduce the risk of catching the flu and to reduce the severity of symptoms if a person does get infected. [HuffPost]

You can get COVID-19 and flu at the same time – and it can be deadly.

PENTAGON GAVE $1 BILLION IN PANDEMIC AID TO DEFENSE CONTRACTORS In March, when Congress allocated $1 billion dollars from its first coronavirus relief package to go to the U.S. Department of Defense, the expectation was that the funds would be spent on essential medical supplies needed for the department to help combat the deadly disease. At the time ― and even now ― the United States was facing a shortage of critical items like N95 masks. A new Washington Post report, however, reveals the Trump administration gave a majority of the Pentagon’s billion-dollar coronavirus aid package to defense contractors to make things like Army uniforms, body armor and jet engine parts. [HuffPost]

How to politely decline social invitations in the pandemic.

‘Significant concern’ about COVID-19 rise in largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York City.

Boris Johnson’s early Christmas present to Britain: Six months of coronavirus gloom.

Coronavirus disaster in Britain, update


This 22 September 2020 video says about itself:

Europe’s COVID-19 crisis surges

Countries across Europe are declaring health emergencies as coronavirus cases rise.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports from London.

This is how COVID-19 is spreading in the U.K. right now.

UK COULD SEE 50,000 COVID CASES A DAY WITHIN WEEKS Britain could see 50,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-October and 200 deaths a day by mid-November if the current rate of infection is not halted, Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance said at a public briefing. The news comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that a second wave “is coming” to the U.K. Last week, the R0 rate of the virus, which shows whether the pandemic is growing, jumped to between 1.1 and 1.4. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the country would not return to the full lockdown seen in March. [HuffPost]

The U.K.’s doubling coronavirus cases mean Boris Johnson can’t wake up from his COVID-19 nightmare.

Editorial: We need a zero-Covid strategy – the government must be made to change course: here.

Covid deaths to reach more than 200 per day as Britain heads in the ‘wrong direction’: here.

Neoliberal governments letting coronavirus ‘run amok’, charges Diane Abbott, Labour MP.

Labour publishes ‘file of failure’ detailing Tory mismanagement of £3.9bn during Covid crisis: here.

The government is to blame for the second wave. The government’s complacency, recklessness and utter incompetence have brewed a perfect storm for the virus, argues ZARAH SULTANA.

USA: INFAMOUS COVID-19 DENIER ‘WORKS FOR DR. FAUCI’ A public relations official in Dr. Anthony Fauci’s office has been writing under a pseudonym for the right-wing website RedState, where he pushes disinformation about COVID-19, according to an investigation by The Daily Beast. The official is Bill Crews, an employee of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 2007. But he reportedly goes by “streiff” on Twitter and RedState, where he is secretly the managing editor. [HuffPost]

British Conservative coronavirus testing mismanagement


This 21 September 2020 video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

NYC teacher: “I recommend you join a rank-and-file committee

to prevent premature reopening of schools, endangering health and lives in this COVID-19 pandemic.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 20 September 2020:

Families told to travel hundreds of miles for Government’s ‘world-beating’ Covid-19 test-and-trace system

People in England’s north-east directed to South Yorkshire and Scotland for testing

HE government’s “world-beating” Covid-19 test-and-trace system has descended into further chaos with families being told they must travel hundreds of miles to be tested.

In England’s north-east, where new lockdown regulations took effect at the weekend, people applying for tests were directed to Barnsley in South Yorkshire and Dumfries in Scotland.

One couple in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, were told to go to Bolton in Lancashire, the worst-affected town in Britain for new infections. Peter and Gill Hirst had developed respiratory illnesses.

Mr Hirst said today: “Gill was trying for the elusive Covid test the last couple of nights with no success — except we could visit Bolton for a drive-through test.

“Bolton: the town with the highest rate of infection in the country. Oh yes! Let’s go there!”

The north-eastern family asked to make a 200-mile round trip to Scotland from Burnhope in County Durham were Karen Reynoldson, her partner David Smith and their daughters, aged eight and four.

They asked for tests after their eldest daughter developed symptoms — and were directed to Moffat in Dumfries & Galloway for tests.

Ms Reynoldson said: “We must have passed loads of testing stations on the way up there, and I can imagine there were lots of people travelling in the opposite direction to us for tests down here.”

Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck in Northumbria, said: “It’s no flaming wonder the entire north is having additional restrictions imposed on it.

“Only between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of those seeking a test got one. Many of those who did were then forced to take journeys of hundreds of miles to get their children tested.

“All the while, every single one of the children attending Eton were tested, symptomatic or not.

“If it’s good enough for the rich and powerful, it’s good enough for people here in Wansbeck.”

On May 27 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a “world-beating” Covid test-and-trace system would begin the next day.

Infections have now risen to more than 4,000 a day.

More new localised restrictions will be imposed from tomorrow in the Midlands and West Yorkshire.

COVID-19 plus flu disaster in the USA?


This 19 September 2020 video says about itself:

COVID-19 crisis escalates across Europe

France has seen a record number of new coronavirus cases, with more than 13,000 infections registered in the past 24 hours. The health ministry says 154 people died in hospital on Thursday, the highest number in four months.

The United Kingdom government is considering whether to impose a second national lockdown, after daily cases in England nearly doubled – to around 6,000 – in the past week. More restrictions have also been announced for the North West and Midlands areas.

Many other European countries are introducing new measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Movement is being limited in Spain’s capital, Denmark is applying a curfew for bars and Iceland will close pubs in the capital for four days.

Meanwhile, Israel has returned to a nationwide lockdown for a second time, following a spike in numbers.

This has come at the height of the Jewish holiday season.
.
Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases has now passed 30.5 million.

Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from London.

By Tina Hesman Saey in the USA:

What will happen when COVID-19 and the flu collide this fall?

The upcoming face-off in the U.S. could lead to one virus dominating or a deadly combo

September 18, 2020 at 4:43 pm

The specter of a “twindemic” — two epidemics at the same time — looms as cold and flu season is set to start in October in the Northern Hemisphere. No one can predict what will happen when flu meets COVID-19, but public health officials are urging people to prepare for the worst.

In this case, the worst would be a bad year for influenza, which in the United States has killed 12,000 to 61,000 people annually and hospitalized between 140,000 and 810,000 each year since 2010, combined with a resurgence of coronavirus infections. Together, the two could stress health care and public health systems beyond their limits.

“We could see a perfect storm of accelerated COVID-19 activity as people gather more inside in particular, as they become increasingly fatigued with the mask wearing, social distancing and the hand hygiene, and as they are exposed to seasonal influenza,” said Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the infectious diseases division of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, during a news briefing from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, or IDSA, on September 10.

Some states are getting coronavirus spread under control, but hospitalization levels haven’t gone down much, she said. “Overall, we still are on … a razor’s edge when it comes to COVID,” and influenza remains unpredictable. “We really can’t be complacent about this.”

Infectious diseases experts worry about a conjunction of influenza and coronavirus for multiple reasons, beyond overburdened health systems. Teasing out whether a person has flu or coronavirus — which have very similar symptoms — will require testing for both viruses, at a time when turnaround for COVID-19 tests is often slow. And some people may get infected with multiple viruses simultaneously, which could make symptoms more severe.

But hints from the Southern Hemisphere give hope that the worst may not happen. Scientists usually forecast flu seasons’ severity in the north by watching what happens south of the equator, where flu season falls in the middle of the year. This year, the preview held good news: a mild season for flu and some other respiratory viruses.

Southern exposure

Countries in the Southern Hemisphere normally start seeing flu cases in May, and the flu season typically peaks in July and peters out around October. For the past five to six years, flu seasons in Australia have been bad. For instance, in 2019, Australia got an early flu season that started in March and “went on for a very long time,” says Kanta Subbarao, a virologist who directs the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

It wasn’t looking good for 2020 either. This year, flu season started even earlier, she says. “We started seeing some flu activity in January and February,” summer in the Southern Hemisphere. “Then it just completely stopped. It just fell off a cliff at the end of March, essentially when COVID-19 started appearing.”

From April through July, only 33 people had positive flu results in Australia out of 60,031 people tested, an international group of influenza researchers report September 18 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu was also nearly nonexistent in South Africa and Chile in the late spring and early summer months. Together, the three countries recorded just 51 flu cases among 83,307 people tested, for a positivity rate of 0.06 percent. By contrast, over the April through July periods in 2017, 2018 and 2019, a total of 24,512 out of 178,690 people had positive flu tests, a positivity rate of 13.7 percent.

Travel restrictions that closed Australia’s borders may have prevented influenza from being imported from elsewhere. Lockdowns, school closures, mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing — all measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — may have also quashed any influenza outbreaks that remained. Other Southern Hemisphere countries have also reported unexpectedly low levels of influenza and another common respiratory virus called respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, she says.

Public health officials anticipated a resurgence of influenza and RSV once Australia reopened schools, but that hasn’t happened, Subbarao says. “We have looked very long and hard,” but have found very little of either disease, Subbarao says. Instead, “what we’re finding is rhinovirus,” which cause colds, Subbarao says, suggesting that rhinovirus hasn’t been phased by all the public health measures.

Northern predictions

Flu season may also be lighter than usual in the Northern Hemisphere as a result of reduced travel, former CDC director Tom Frieden said in an IDSA news briefing on September 15. Flu “gets around the world when people travel, and there’s not much traveling going on.” But COVID-19 remains a threat, he warned “If you doubted that COVID was more infectious than flu, look at South Africa or Chile, where COVID is spreading like wildfire and flu isn’t spreading at all.”

In the United States during the 2019–2020 flu season, flu cases also took a nosedive after public health measures were put in place to limit coronavirus spread. Flu cases started increasing in November 2019, and between December 15 and March 7, more than 20 percent of flu tests were coming back positive each week, according to the MMWR report. By the week of March 22, plenty of people were still getting flu tests, but only 2.3 percent of the results came back positive. Many of those influenza-like illnesses that weren’t due to flu may have been COVID-19 (SN: 6/25/20).

Since the week of April 5, fewer than 1 percent of flu tests have detected the virus, and off-season flu counts are at historical lows. From May 17 to August 8, only 0.2 percent of flu tests gave positive results, compared with 2.35 percent last year, 1.04 percent in 2018 and 2.36 percent in 2017. The sharp drop-off of flu cases might just have been the natural end of the flu season. However, the decrease in percent positivity after March 1 “was dramatic, suggesting other factors were at play,” the researchers wrote.

If social distancing and other measures to contain COVID-19 remain in place, the flu season in the United States might be blunted or delayed, the researchers wrote. But don’t bank on it, other experts say. If there’s anything experts who try to predict influenza activity have learned is that flu is unpredictable.

Battle for dominance

Predicting how flu will play with COVID-19 is trickier still.

Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is involved in efforts to predict which flu strains will dominate so that vaccines can be designed accordingly. One pattern Webby and other flu researchers have seen over and over again is that when a new pandemic influenza strain arises, it pushes out another strain. For instance, when the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic strain emerged, another H1N1 flu strain that had been circulating since 1977 disappeared.

SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — and influenza will be competing for hosts to infect, which may result in one virus squeezing out the other, Webby says.

“I find it difficult to believe that there’s going to be widespread flu and widespread COVID activity at the same time. I think one of them will dominate. I couldn’t tell you which one it will be,” he says. Admittedly on the fence, he says that if asked to bet which disease will predominate, “I’d put a little bit of money each way.” He says the two diseases probably won’t both go gangbusters, “but I could easily be horribly wrong.”

Getting a double dose

In the battle for hosts, sometimes both viruses win, infecting a person at the same time.

As New York and New Jersey became hot spots of coronavirus spread in the spring, COVID-19 “patients were coming around the clock” to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., where Balraj Singh works. Singh, a hematologist and oncologist, was called in to treat the patients’ blood clots and plummeting blood cell counts. As he did so, he decided to also test his patients for infections with other viruses that produce similar symptoms. He and colleagues discovered that three of their patients were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza at the same time. They reported the cases August 18 in Cureus.

Two of the patients had to be intubated, but Singh and colleagues can’t say whether the dual infections made their illnesses worse. All were eventually discharged. It was important to publish the case reports “so somebody else can have a little bit of a head start” in recognizing that some people may have double trouble from viruses, he says.

flue shot sign

Coinfections with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza will probably be uncommon, says David Morens, a virologist and infectious diseases doctor who is the senior scientific advisor to the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md.

One analysis suggests only about 3 percent of COVID-19 patients were simultaneously infected with another virus, researchers reported online May 27 in the Journal of Infection. Those researchers examined 30 studies, mostly from China, that reported on dual infections with bacteria or viruses in people sick with COVID-19. The most common viruses to double up with SARS-CoV-2 were RSV and influenza A.

Broad defenses

It’s not impossible to catch viral infections at the same time or in quick succession, but getting one viral infection generally makes it harder to get another one, Morens says. That’s because viral infections tend to rev up the immune system’s generalized antiviral defense system, known as the innate immune system. Catching one virus sets off alarm bells in the form of virus-fighting immune chemicals known as interferons (SN: 8/6/20). For a short period after an infection, maybe weeks to months, the immune system stays on high alert with defenses at least partially raised to ward off any subsequent intruders.

That battening of the hatches against other viral invaders is different from the specific kind of immunity that comes from making antibodies against a particular virus. But it still might be useful. For instance, immunologist Ellen Foxman has long suspected that catching colds caused by rhinovirus may have delayed the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in Europe.

“For years I’ve been looking for a way to test” that idea, says Foxman, of Yale School of Medicine. She and colleagues confirmed that flu and rhinovirus don’t seem to mix by examining data from three later flu seasons, spanning November 2016 to March 2019. They found that people were less likely than expected to have dual infections with rhinovirus and influenza, the team reported September 4 in Lancet Microbe.

Infecting human lung cells growing in laboratory dishes provided some clues to why. First, the researchers infected the cells with rhinovirus. Then they tried a few days later to infect the same cells with flu virus. Rhinovirus infections turned up activity of genes involved in the interferon response, preventing flu viruses from replicating in rhinovirus-infected cells, the researchers found. Blocking interferon allowed the flu viruses to reproduce in cells already infected with the cold virus. But interferon response doesn’t last long, “maybe a week or two,” Foxman says.

And that type of protection isn’t perfect, Subbarao says. About 10 percent of the respiratory illnesses are coinfections with two or more viruses.

Some scientists theorize that vaccines against tuberculosis, measles or polio — which contain live, weakened virus or bacteria — might give some measure of protection against COVID-19 by generally toughening the immune system, Subbarao says. FluMist, a nasal spray flu vaccine mainly used for children, might also provide a little nonspecific armor against other viruses, though she cautions that the protection is short-lived and intended only as a stop-gap until there’s a safe, reliable and widely available coronavirus vaccine.

Injected flu vaccines are usually made with killed viruses and don’t offer the same generalized virus protection as live vaccines. But public health officials are urging people to get flu vaccines, to reduce the chances of getting infected with both viruses and hopefully ward off a nasty flu season.

“If there’s ever a year you need to get your flu shot, get your kids vaccinated, this is the year,” Marrazzo said.

Coronavirus disaster, worldwide


This 15 September 2020 video says about itself:

Murder, Corruption, Coronavirus & Death of Democracy: Welcome to Bolsonaro’s Brazil. Glenn Greenwald

“There’s no question, Brazilian democracy’s imperilled”.

BLACK AND HISPANIC KIDS DIE MORE FROM CORONAVIRUS A detailed look at COVID-19 deaths in U.S. kids and young adults shows they mirror patterns in older patients. Of 121 deaths the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined, many had one or more medical conditions. The CDC found 54 were Hispanic, 35 were Black, and 17 were white, even though overall there are far more white Americans than Black and Hispanic. It may reflect many things, including that many essential workers who have to go to work are Black and Hispanic parents. [HuffPost]

There was a college mental health crisis before COVID-19. Now it may be worse.

Trump is less trusted internationally than Putin and Xi after his COVID-19 bungling.

TRUMP ADMIN STIFFED USPS FOR COVID-19 POSTCARD Trump’s administration reportedly has yet to pay the U.S. Postal Service for a postcard it sent out in March prominently displaying the president’s name alongside a series of guidelines for combating COVID-19. The cost of producing and sending the postcards to an estimated 138 million addresses across the U.S. was $28 million, with $4.6 million spent on printing alone. Meanwhile, as the 2020 election approaches, the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has prioritized budget cuts over getting people their mail on time. This could imperil voting by mail. [HuffPost]

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Schools struggling to cope with ‘out of control’ Covid-19 testing issues, unions warn

SCHOOLS are struggling to cope with “increasingly out of control” Covid-19 testing issues, teaching unions warned yesterday.

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach called on the government to prioritise the education sector for the allocation of tests in the light of the challenges.

In a letter to Schools Minister Nick Gibb, Dr Roach said the union was aware of around 600 pupils being told to self-isolate in one local authority area, and that the number was growing.

The union leader told Mr Gibb that pupils sent home with symptoms did not know when or where they would be able to access a test.

Delays in testing had meant that some students and staff who were part of a school “bubble” were not being isolated even where there were multiple suspected cases.

“This is putting at risk the health and safety of others within the school and within the local community,” Dr Roach said.

Organisations representing school leaders and governors have also called on PM Boris Johnson to “take charge” of tackling the delays in obtaining Covid-19 tests to ensure that schools remain open.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), school leaders’ union NAHT and the National Governance Association have written to Mr Johnson to express concern about testing.

The letter warns of a “deep sense of foreboding about the potential for the system to become ever-more riddled with delays” as more cases emerge, which would be “increasingly disruptive to children’s education.”

The ASCL said it had received 264 emails from schools and colleges with symptomatic staff and pupils who were struggling to access tests.

Hundreds of schools have been hit with Covid-19 cases since it became compulsory for pupils to return.

Some have closed their doors days after reopening while others have told whole year groups and classes to self-isolate for two weeks following confirmed cases.

Vegan food on the rise in China


This 5 June 2020 video says about itself:

Not Impossible: China’s Vegan Meat Culture Goes Back 1,000 Years

Vegan meat is all the rage these days. Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible all have their version of a fake beef patty. But did you know plant-based meat has been part of Chinese cuisine for over a thousand years?

We went to Lily’s Vegan Pantry, which has been selling traditional Chinese mock meat for 25 years, to learn more about veganism in Chinese cuisine. We also talked to the founder of a Chinese company that specializes in faux pork products to understand how the Asian market differs from the West.

From Reuters news agency, 15 September 2020:

Chinese firms bet on plant-based meat as COVID-19 fuels healthy eating trend

BEIJING: A small but growing coterie of Chinese companies are betting on a bright future for plant-based meat products as consumers take their health more seriously in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though still a niche business compared to China’s giant meat supply chain, vegetarian alternatives to meat are gaining ground following health scares like COVID-19 and African swine fever, analysts and industry insiders said.

US-based Beyond Meat said last week it had signed a deal to open a production facility near Shanghai and earlier this year launched a partnership with Starbucks for its plant-based meat products to be sold by the cafe giant in China.

Beijing-based start-up Zhenmeat, whose products include plant-based meatballs, beef patty, steak, pork loin, crayfish and dumplings, is one of many small Chinese companies entering the market. Its “meatballs” are now available on a trial basis at a Beijing store of Chinese hotpot chain Hope Tree.

“Now after COVID-19 consumers are more concerned about health and restaurant brands are responding to this,” Zhenmeat founder and CEO Vince Lu told Reuters in an interview, adding that sales were “up considerably” since June.

Many curious customers at the Beijing Hope Tree restaurant said the meatballs – made from a base of pea and soy protein – tasted like tofu.

“Actually you can tell that it isn’t meat but the feel of it in your mouth is very similar to beef. And I guess that plant-based meat is a little healthier than beef,” said Audrey Jiang, 30.

China Market Research Group Director Ben Cavender said the key to the future of the plant-based meat market was the taste.

“When we interview consumers the vast majority say they’re open to trying these products once,” he said.

“But the big question is how do they like it? Do they see how they can fit it into their diet on daily basis, whether that’s cooking at home or at restaurants? But if they do like it they’ll keep buying.”

Zhenmeat’s Lu said there was a lot of competition in the market but the real competitor was the meat industry itself.

“The most important thing is that our true competitors are not those global giants who have already achieved great success such as Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods,” he said.

“Our true competitor is the whole livestock sector. It’s the animal protein industry.”

More mink fur industry COVID-19 infection


This July 2020 video says about itself:

WHO confirms COVID-19 transmission from people to minks in Netherlands, Denmark

In a media briefing on COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there were minks that had been “found positive for coronavirus” in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Today, Dutch NOS radio reports that at two more mink fur farms, in Wilbertoord and in Overloon, the animals have become infected with coronavirus. Earlier, that had happened at 52 businesses.

More cats might be COVID-19 positive than first believed, study suggests. Study shows cats are fighting off the virus with naturally developed antibodies; however, they could be at risk of reinfection: here.

COVID-19 pandemic news update


This 12 September 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump’s COVID-19 Response Is A 9/11 Every Week

Let us not forget on this day that we memorialize the people lost on 9/11, that, because Donald Trump lied to us about the severity of this virus, we are today losing two 9/11‘s worth of Americans every single week.

As pandemic death toll approaches 200,000, American oligarchs celebrate their wealth. 12 September 2020. According to Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, the super-rich now possess $3.2 trillion, enough to pay for an entire year of public education, health care, nutrition and disaster relief for millions of people: here.

Rented penguins and $300,000 dinners: The wildest holiday requests from the super-rich.

Why did so many poor New Yorkers die of COVID-19? By Josh Varlin, 12 September 2020. Inequality, including in hospital care, determined whether thousands of people in New York City would die of COVID-19.

Smoking in the age of COVID: Some immunological considerations. By Henry Hakamaki, 12 September 2020. Smoking and e-cigarettes are directly associated with increased risk of infection by the novel coronavirus.

NYT REPORTER BOOTED FROM TRUMP RALLY OVER MASKS TWEET A reporter for The New York Times was kicked out of a Trump rally in Freeland, Michigan, on Thursday after noting on social media that many of the president’s supporters were not wearing masks or keeping their distance. Kathy Gray was on site for the airport rally attended by about 5,000 people. Just before Trump’s arrival, the reporter noted it seemed as if only about 10% of those gathered were wearing masks, saying people were “crammed in” as Air Force One landed. About 30 minutes later, Gray said she had been kicked out. [HuffPost]

“I don’t want to be a typhoid Mary!”. Jacksonville, Florida teacher speaks out against deadly school reopenings. By Nancy Hanover and Matthew MacEgan, 12 September 2020. A teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, reached out to the WSWS to speak about the <a href=”https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2020/07/07/florida-covid-19-denialist-mother-kills-teenage-daughter/”>spread of the coronavirus across the state just two weeks into the new school year.

Infected students denounce administration guidelines, amidst rising COVID-19 cases at Southern California universities. By Melody Isley and Emiri Ochiai, 12 September 2020. Infected students report callous treatment from school administration, being thrown into isolation rooms without bed sheets, food or sanitizing equipment.

University of Michigan grad students set to extend strike as opposition grows to the US to back-to-school drive. By Genevieve Leigh, 12 September 2020. Nineteen of the 25 hottest outbreaks in the US are in communities with colleges that have reopened for in-person learning, sparking growing anger over the homicidal back-to-school campaign.

Francy, a University of Michigan striking graduate student-instructor (WSWS photo)

Latin America, epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, on the brink of social explosion. By Tomas Castanheira, 12 September 2020. Latin America this week reached the grim milestones of 300,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 8 million infections.

Revelation of US government conspiracy on COVID-19 exposes EU herd immunity policy. By Alex Lantier, 12 September 2020. Revelations that US officials conspired to lie to the public about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic also expose the politically criminal role of the EU.

UK government’s “Operation Moonshot”—a trojan horse for herd immunity policy. By Thomas Scripps, 12 September 2020. Under the cover of a non-existent mass testing programme, the government plans to encourage as much intermingling as possible.

Full classes, full buses—German schools are becoming a coronavirus trap. By Marianne Arens, 12 September 2020. With schools re-opening without social distancing and the wearing of masks, new infections are increasing. Throughout Germany, hundreds of facilities have been affected.

Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases raise fears of uncontrolled outbreaks across the Pacific. By John Braddock, 12 September 2020. The surge in cases across the Pacific is causing a deepening health and social crisis, underscoring the global reach of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Mink fur industry cause of COVID-19 pandemic’


This 17 August 2020 video from the USA is called Utah mink test positive for virus linked to COVID-19 in humans.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Research: dozens of infections on mink farms

At least 66 workers and family members have been infected by outbreaks on mink fur businesses. That is 68 percent of the total number of people tested on the farms, according to an extensive Dutch investigation into the outbreak at sixteen businesses. Certainly in a number of cases the virus has been transmitted from mink to humans. The outbreak on mink farms is therefore more fierce than expected. Minister Schouten (Agriculture) initially did not estimate the risk of mink contamination on humans to be high.

The research was published on a life sciences website early this month. The scientists suspect that the virus had been circulating in mink populations for some time before it spread to humans. The virus also mutated widely among minks; on average once every two weeks.

The scientists do not have a direct explanation for the fact that the virus spread from breeding business to breeding business in May and June, when the outbreak was contained nationally. They list infected farm visitors or feral cats as possible causes. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority has now also started an investigation into possible deliberate infections. In total, at least fifty of the 128 mink farms in the Netherlands are now infected.

However, the study has virtually established that mink can be regarded as a reservoir for the virus. Virologist and research leader Marion Koopmans of Erasmus MC tells De Volkskrant daily that the fur industry may well be the “missing link” that contributed to the transfer from animals to humans in China. “This could be a plausible intermediate step in the virus’ journey from bats to humans,” she says.

Amazon Bezos COVID-19 price gouging


This June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Checking the Power of the Corona-Profiteers: Amazon

While much of the US economy is in trouble, the Amazon corporation is not. Orders are surging and workers are coping with increased demands and dangerous conditions in the workplace. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Amazon’s stepped up its use of third-party suppliers to ship non-essential products and has fired employees calling out public health threats while Jeff Bezos has earned $24 billion in wealth since the start of this pandemic.

Dania Rajendra, Executive Director of Athena Coalition, describes how an alliance of grassroots organizations, workers and consumers are collaborating with workers to call the billionaire corporation to account. Amazon’s supply chains may be helping consumers and their communities under lockdown right now, but their business model is a direct threat. Could Amazon be brought under public check — even be seized as a utility? Rajendra joins Laura to explain why now is a time to think bigger and bolder about the institutions that shape our economy.

“It’s going to take all of us to figure out how to restore public oversight over private power.”

For more information about the Athena Coalition, please visit here.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Amazon raised disinfectant prices after outbreak

Amazon is charging a considerably higher price for hand sanitizers, gloves and other protective products since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the USA. That is the conclusion of the American consumer watchdog Public Citizen. The organization accuses Amazon of acting unethically.

Public Citizen researched nearly 25 products on Amazon‘s site and found that Amazon prices rose by as much as 1000 percent in some cases over the pre-corona pandemic period, as well as compared to prices on other websites. For example, hand soap from the Dial brand at Amazon now costs 6.41 dollars. That same bottle costs $ 1.49 to $ 2.29 elsewhere.

According to the consumer organization, Amazon has broken rules because unlimited price hikes are sometimes prohibited in some US states. Enforcement of those rules is difficult because the legislation is not the same in all states.

… Public Citizen received many more complaints about price increases of products that became scarce due to the coronavirus crisis, such as baking powder and cleaning products.