An occasional series on the dark side of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
Day 12: Lockdown
On the 26th of March 2020, with UK businesses in lockdown and the nation at a virtual standstill, it was reported that Prince Charles had contracted the Covid-19 Corona Virus. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52033845). This was in addition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and at least six other MPS already claiming to have had the virus (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11154144/coronavirus-cabinet-minister-six-mps-isolation-nadine-dorries/). And yet a week later it was reported the Prince had made a miraculous recovery, and had only a “mild” form of the virus (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8167501/Prince-Charles-self-isolation-recovering-coronavirus.html). It seems that while the Chinese Virus may be no respector of capitalism, it DOES respect social privilege and those who can afford private healthcare.
Back in the real world, in New York State, (Democrat) Governor Andrew Cuomo was still preparing for the shockwave of up to 30,000 people who “might potentially” need emergency ventilators if the virus attacks their respiratory system (https://www.webmd.com/lung/what-does-covid-do-to-your-lungs#1). After claiming that he had “only four hundred” ventilators and that 26,000 people would die if the federal government did not send him more (by the way, incorrect math, since that would mean they had four THOUSAND working ventilators), it was discovered that New York State had (co-incidentally) got four thousand ventilators stashed in a warehouse. Governor Cuomo then stated Yes, they’re in a stockpile because that’s where they’re supposed to be because we don’t need them yet.” (https://illicitinfo.com/busted/2020/03/29/after-trying-to-dunk-on-trump-dem-gov-of-new-york-cuomo-busted-magically-admits-to-warehouse-stockpile-with-ventilators/).
Meanwhile, as other health authorities were struggling to secure enough of the vital ventilators to cover all potential needs, it was being suggested that part of the reason that the Chinese Virus seems to have affected Italy so badly was EU-mandated austerity measures meaning their health system had nowhere near the number of ventilators it needed to cope. Whether true or not, populist feeling seems to have been stirred up. It was reported that Italians were burning EU flags and demanding an Italian EXIT from the European Union, or “Italexit” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7qeDFmewPg). In addition, it emerged that Italy has a large population of Chinese garment makers who were travelling to and from China, including Wu Han province where this originated, in large numbers for Chinese new year during February 2020 when the virus outbreak began.
Media reporting of the number of virus deaths continues to be confusing, with the number of deaths due to the C-virus being calculated by adding up EVERYONE who died with the virus in some countries, but only in cases where there is no other obvious underlying cause in other places. Mainstream media appeared (at time of writing) to be finally admitting the Chinese authorities have massively under-reported the mortality impact of Corona in China after initially credulously reporting CCP-authorised figures (https://www.businessinsider.in/science/health/news/a-leaked-report-pegged-coronavirus-deaths-in-china-at-25000-before-aligning-with-beijings-narrative/articleshow/73980043.cms).
At the same time as they were promoting the communist party narrative, the western media were also busy bashing the UK government for not having enough testing kits for the virus. It is not clear how many the UK has been able to obtain, due to reliance on Chinese and German chemical firms to provide the testing kits. Those looking to our EU neighbours for help did not seem to take into account the Germans would prioritise those within their own borders, which perhaps accounts for the lower German death rate, when considered alongside the fact that the Germans may be reporting only those who died explicitly due to the virus and not all those who died with it due to other causes. It’s also not clear what the currently available tests were actually testing for up to this point, as I was hearing unconfirmed reports that these tests identify positively for all versions of Corona virus, of which there are many, and not only the current and most deadly one at this point. It was also pointed out that these tests were only identifying the presence of the virus, and not telling us if people had developed antibodies to it or could continue to spread it (risk of false positives is discussed here: https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/02/how-does-one-test-for-coronavirus-anyway/).
The mainstream corporate news media narrative around the deadliness of C-virus is kind of thrown into question when you consider the fact that they seem to have used footage of an Italian hospital and purported it to be New York over-run with sick patients. Dave Cullen (Computing Forever) reported this on Youtube in a rather long video, from which you can just watch a couple of moments here and come back if you don’t have time to view the whole thing (https://youtu.be/RkJELpndAOs?t=226). I haven’t been able to find any other handy sources for this, but I have interacted with Cullen personally on occasion and I don’t have any reason to doubt what he says or the veracity of his screengrabs. In fact, he is only asking the question: are the media intentionally setting out to spread fear? The reasons for that would be obvious: they want people to stay inside and respect the curfew. Other more paranoid-types may want to see more sinister agenda behind the way the media have been reporting all this… as they already have when the story broke when speculating about how the virus originated (https://cairnsnews.org/2020/01/28/coronavirus-stolen-from-canadian-laboratory-by-chinese-agents-2018/).
If we are indeed fighting a war on this virus, truth seems to have been (as usual) the first casualty, and paranoid feeling is the second horseman of this Coronapocalypse. Campaigners took to Twitter in their masses under the hashtag Brighton Pride to suggest that homophobia meant people were happy one of the most liberal and respectful-to-all cities in the UK might have called off its annual gay pride event, when in fact germophobia might be a more accurate diagnosis. Meanwhile many videos and articles also appeared claiming that Chinese “sleeper cells” in the west seem to have been intentionally spreading the infection either of Covid-19 or other possibly similar biological agent (https://twitter.com/209TimesCA/status/1244768513199206400 also http://shr.gs/MQfY0D). I have nothing to say about that, as it remains a conspiracy theory up to this point, and until such time as this can be investigated by the proper authorities and proven or disproven we must take this as inflammatory rhetoric. Any anger people might feel should, if necessary, be directed against the Communist Party of China and NOT the Chinese people or any people of Chinese origin. People suggesting China might have wanted to spread this virus to stop Hong Kong protests, mitigate the effects of C-virus on their own economy, or for many other reasons certainly have a case, but at the time of writing this is not proven. The Chinese people have clearly suffered in this as well, and China is clearly massively under-reporting the number of people dead in this pandemic.
I’ll continue to note any more interesting left-field stories about the Corona Crisis that you might not hear anywhere else as they come in.