Category Archives: COVID-19

Sweden: A Beacon Of Light Against A World Gone Mad

The ‘Rona Squeeze & A Swedish Hip-Hopper

And so it was time again.

Tightened restrictions, mandatory limits on public life, curfews, orders to stay-at-home, travel bans with invasive hoops, and all the other anti-corona policies that ostensibly aren’t lookdowns: they look like lockdowns, they quack like lockdowns, but in these euphemism-prone times we call them by any other names than lockdowns.

Maddeningly, the goalpost keeps shifting, updating life and language faster and better than George Orwell himself could have done.

  • First, we had to take precautions to flatten the curve. Hospitals and fears, remember? Then we had to stop travelling, or visit the mall ‒ because who needs that, anyway?
  • Then we had to wear cloth over our faces and stay away from each other. For the elderly’s sake, naturally.
  • Then we had to give up public life for everyone’s sake.
  • The next step, bravely taken by authoritarian politicians and epidemiologists across the Western world, is to intentionally overdo the restrictions ‒ “for now” ‒ so that we have any hope of getting freedoms back for the holidays.

No matter how hard these enlightened autocrats have squeezed, this badly-behaved virus refuses to listen. How odd, they must think; we passed a law, made an announcement ‒ why isn’t it working?

Back to your rooms, the Austrians said. After an explosive number of positive tests in the last week, enough with the provisional liberties and niceties, you’re grounded for the rest of November. Gatherings and cultural events are closed; Christmas markets are out. The Icelanders, already in the spring proclaimed corona free and all summer celebrated in puff pieces by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker and Adam Roy Gordon in the Atlantic, still dreamily speak of celebrating Christmas.

When the latest rounds of tighter and tighter restrictions came into effect this week, the government talking heads, and the prime minister in particular, told their subjects to give up on Halloween and the next few weeks. Let’s sacrifice these few weeks, they said, so that we can loosen restrictions for Christmas. Fat chance.

The Brits and the French have been even more adamant on setting timelines, or “circuit-breakers,” on their invasive policies. We strip you of liberties, dignities, and the things in which most people find joy ‒ but for a good cause, and just for a little while, okay?

The naivety here was always impressive. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Most people could have plausibly believed what their politicians told them about timelines in the spring; this was a new situation, we didn’t know what the novel threat was, and old handbooks could be thrown out before anyone had time to object. The withdrawn freedoms would be rolled back in time, but as political economist Robert Higgs taught us long ago, never quite fully.

A little over half a year later, we’re going through the same ordeal again. With much better knowledge about the (overblown) risks, with much better tools in preventing spread and safeguarding the elderly. Still, it doesn’t seem to matter. The political overlords, not exactly known for their excellence in interpreting statistics, look at their exponential graphs ‒ and do the exact same thing they did in the spring.

It’s almost as if the virus doesn’t care about your crackdowns, your faster and harder tightening of the societal and commercial noose. If you squeeze people just a little bit more, maybe ‒ just maybe ‒ the virus will listen…? French ministers, like American policy-makers in the spring, started mandating what kinds of products may be on the supermarket shelves: soap is acceptable; makeup isn’t. The Germans, widely celebrated for their track-and-trace program and generous financial schemes, opted for a “mild” lockdown ‒ “just” for four weeks. Perhaps, suggested Holman Jenkins in the Wall Street Journal recently, “the bigger numbers might suggest we are grappling with a natural phenomenon over which we exercise little control.”

Take the bamboozled and highly infected discussion over mask-wearing. They’re effective, they’re not effective; they’re effective if you use them right; and even if they’re not, every little bit counts. In its beautiful infographic, the New York Times describes how they work: “A good mask will have a large surface area, a tight fit around the edges, and a shape that leaves space around your nostrils and mouth.”

Even if accurate, we don’t need to go much further than our closest supermarket to notice that that’s not the kind of masks worn by most people. Most people wear loosely fitted, thin pieces of cloth that probably capture some particles ‒ what do I know? ‒ but is unlikely to approach the efficacy that its proponents describe. We reuse them without washing them ‒ can anyone really be bothered? ‒ we don’t put them on properly, they leak left-right-and-center.

The fallback line? Well, not individually but they’re part of a bigger package. The New York Times quotes Linsey Marr at Virginia Tech saying that “something is better than nothing.”

Perhaps every little helps in a what-otherwise-would-have-been sense, but that’s not how most decision-makers justify the above withdrawal of our liberties. Rather, they say that the infection rates are “too high,” the curve too steep, the hospital capacity for treatment too close for comfort. Presuming their honesty ‒ the faking of which I don’t put past them ‒ there’s scant evidence that aggregate mask use correlates in any way with infection rates.

Sweden, where virtually nobody outside hospital settings uses masks, has had lower 7-days rolling deaths per capita than the U.S. for four months straight; lower than the mask-wielding and lockdown-prone U.K. for almost two months. Even the much-praised German experience now has more people dying from (and with) Covid-19 than Sweden does. Infection rates and spread too: the trends since the height of summer or beginning of fall look the same, regardless if you’re a massively mask-wielding country or not.

Yes, it is possible that without widespread mask use among Americans and Brits, infection rates would have even higher and death rates too. I keep wondering, what would the numbers have to look like for you to even consider that what we’re doing isn’t working? That perhaps locking down societies, practically, doesn’t do much to combat the disease, but quite a lot to ruin people’s lives and livelihoods?

We can choose cherry-picked countries for our various cases all we like: the “success stories” of Vietnam, New Zealand, or Australia haven’t done things much differently than Denmark, Austria, France, U.K. or the U.S.: squeeze your populace, and say the magic incantations. Perhaps the virus deity will grant your wishes.

I’m reminded of two-decades-old words by Jason Diakité (stage name ‘Timbuktu’), one of my favorite musicians and one of the most successful hip-hoppers in Sweden. In the early 2000s, he released a pretty obscure song called Ett Brev (“A Letter”) structured like a letter to the then-prime minister of Sweden. A political rapper ‒ naturally hard left like all good artists ‒ Diakité was objecting to the many frightening trends he saw in Europe: dismantled social safety nets, overburdened health care services, opposition and hatred towards immigrants. He explicitly included a list of countries where Nazis were allegedly “gaining the upper hand” in typical Antifa-like hyperbole: France, Italy, “BeNeLux,” and Sweden’s immediate neighbor Denmark. The list of places going radically south, as he saw it, was long.

In all of these places, “Forces for good have presumably surrendered.” Little did Diakité know that almost two decades after he penned those provocative lines, his words would ring true across most of the Western world.

The authoritarian threat of 2020 is very different, and instead of neo-Nazi movements of the early 2000s, the culprits are established, well-meaning politicians and technocrats. Much like then, Sweden is depicted as a beacon of light, standing against a world gone mad, the last outpost of sanity and the values underpinning Western Liberal Democracy.

Most everywhere else, different rules apply: no matter the facts, we must squeeze harder. The badly-behaved virus must stop progressing, must cease and desist. Anything else, apparently, “just doesn’t seem worth it.”

On Trump and Covid

Oct 31, 2020
On this page, I try very hard not to be political. I have never endorsed a candidate, encouraged my followers to vote on a particular piece of legislation, etc., but I am going to make an exception this one time because Donald Trump is one of the most serious threats to science that we have ever faced. His blind denial of evidence is eroding public trust in science and the value of experts, and it is costing thousands of lives. I’m not just talking about COVID here, his environmental policies are also causing irreparable harm. So, I cannot, in good conscience, stand back without saying anything. Many other science advocates and scientific societies have reached the same conclusion, and this year has seen an unprecedented number of science groups that usually avoid politics coming out and endorsing Biden because four more years of Trump is too grave of a threat to ignore. So I am going to do likewise. If you are an American who cares about science, rational thought, human life, and/or the environment, vote for Biden. He’s not perfect. I disagree with him on a lot, but Trump has to be stopped, and voting for Biden is the only way to do so (see comment at end about third party candidates).
So why am I so adamant that Trump has to go? That would take several books, but let’s hit the highlights.
COVID-19 Concept Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures
First, his response to COVID has been abysmal and is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. The USA has one of the highest death rates (per capita) of any country in the world. If you look at how almost every other country responded, their response was better, and far fewer of their citizens have died.
Trump has repeatedly lied about COVID. He has downplayed its seriousness, incorrectly compared it to the flu, falsely claimed that we have lots of cases simply because we do more testing, repeatedly ignored experts and publicly disagreed with them, and said over and over again that we are “rounding the corner” or “its going to go away” even while cases spike and experts warn that things are getting worse.
A real leader would have listened to experts and used their advice to make plans to save lives rather than, as Kushner described it, trying to “get[] the country back from the doctors.” A real leader would have told the American people how serious this is rather than downplaying it. A real leader would have told the American people that we have to take this seriously and carefully follow health guidelines. Once experts presented evidence that masks work, a real leader would have listened to them, fully endorsed masks, and led by example. A real leader would not flaunt public health guidelines by holding massive crowded rallies. This list goes on and on and on. It’s almost hard to imagine anyone doing a worse job at handling COVID than Trump has.
Look around the world at how other countries are doing. Look at countries like Australia where less than 1,000 people have died of COVID (35 deaths per million people) and compare that to the US where over 230,000 have died (712 deaths per million). There is absolutely no reason why that many people had to die. If you look at other countries, it is painfully obvious that an intelligent leader who listened to experts could have greatly reduced those deaths. Further, if you compare Trump’s actions and statements to Biden’s, it is clear that Biden would have done a much better job. He would have encouraged mask use (and led by example), he would have listened to experts and worked with them, not against them, and thousands more would be alive today (see note at end about Trump’s China ban).
Beyond COVID, Trump’s environmental policies have been horrific. He has rolled back dozens of regulations designed to protect the environment and your health, he has opened up public land for fossil fuel companies to destroy, he has repeatedly denied the seriousness of climate change and refused to take appropriate action, his idiotic border wall is destroying key habitat for countless species, he has done his best to fill the EPA with people who care about business, not the environment, he has attacked the endangered species act, etc. etc. He is probably the worst president for the environment that we have ever had. And look, some of you are probably about to be like, “stupid liberal, America has the best air and water in the world!” but what you seem to be blindly ignoring is that we only have good air and water quality (not the best, btw) because of the types of environmental rules Trump is removing! It’s like someone buying a very well-maintained used car and saying, “this thing runs great, better than other cars, therefore I don’t need to do these oil changes.” The car only runs well because of the maintenance! Keep in mind, prior to environmental regulations, some of America’s rivers were literally on fire due to the waste being dumped into them. Without regulations, companies will destroy the environment which ultimately impacts human health and costs lives.
More generally, Trump has repeatedly tried to cut funding for science and health agencies (fortunately the senate has largely stopped him, but who knows if that would continue to be true for four more years) and waged an all-out war on the nature of facts and truth. All politicians lie, but Trump does so at an extraordinary rate. The non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact has ranked 72% of his claims as “mostly false” or worse. It’s not just that he lies, rather, the majority of what he says is false, then he tries to claim that its really everyone else who is lying. He does this even when he is clearly in the wrong. Do you all remember him feuding with meteorologists about the direction a storm was going, then using a sharpy to draw an extra line on a map like the petulant child he is? That’s insane and, quite frankly, dangerous. People need to listen to experts, especially when storms are coming, and they need accurate information. When the president picks these types of fights, spreads false information, and erodes public trust in scientists, he is endangering lives. Further, it is behavior that is unfathomable from someone like Biden. You honestly think Biden would have picked a fight like that? Do you honestly think Biden wouldn’t have just let things slide rather than fighting experts and drawing on a map with a sharpy? There’s simply no comparison between these two.
This post has become long, and it’s not even close to listing the countless ways in which Trump has attacked science and endangered lives, but I will end it here. We cannot have four more years of this. We have to vote him out. Please, don’t sit this election out, and don’t waste your vote on a third-party candidate.
Note on third-party candidates: The way that America’s system is set up, third-party candidates simply do not have a realistic chance of winning. They just don’t. There is absolutely zero evidence to support the notion that a third-party candidate can win, and no third-party candidate has won even a single state in decades. Even if everyone who actually wanted a third-party candidate voted that way, there is no evidence whatsoever that those people outnumber Trump or Biden supporters.
Note on Trump’s China ban: Trump’s supporters love to cite the travel ban as evidence that Trump did take things seriously and is better than democrats. This is absurd. First, the travel ban was very ineffective (something like 40,000 people still came in from China). At best, it bought us a bit of time, but Trump squandered that time. Second, this does not change the fact that following the ban, Trump did literally everything wrong. Note instituting the ban, but instituting universal mask-wearing, better social distancing, etc. would have resulted in far fewer deaths than we currently have. Third, even the assertion that the ban is evidence of Trump taking things seriously is dubious because he has been feuding with China for years and loves travel bans. It is entirely possible that he simply saw an opportunity to ban a country he doesn’t like and took it.

ALERT: THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS COMING

Alert: The New World Order Is Coming

http://www.shtfplan.com

Mac Slavo
October 28th, 2020

A New World Order is being pushed through right now. It’ll all start with the monetary system. Make no mistake, they are going to do this, it’s up to us to stop it.

Central bankers are now poised to embark on their biggest power play ever. For years they have lied in wait for the opportunity to make people so desperate that they would willingly accept the chains of their own enslavement in exchange for fiat currency. Sadly, we are now on the cusp of this system rolling out.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in coordination with the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), is preparing to roll out central bank digital currencies. There will be a universal basic income tied directly to your ability to obey and submit to the bankers’ will. Basically, if you accept this, you will be their slave. They will remove your ability to pay for or do anything if so much as say the word “freedom.”

The globalist IMF recently called for a new “Bretton Woods Moment” to address the loss of trillions of dollars in global economic output due to the world governments’ coronavirus response.

The next frontier of the Fed’s unlimited mandate could be “FedCoin” – a central bank digital currency.

Earlier this month Chairman Powell participated in an IMF panel on international payments and digital currencies. He touted electronic payments systems and raised the possibility of integrating them into a central bank digital currency regime.

Powell has so far declined to outright endorse a move toward a fully cashless system in which countries including China and Sweden are spearheading. But he is on board with the larger globalist agenda of expanding the role of monetary policy in shaping economic and social outcomes. –Activist Post

If we, as human beings, accept this new cashless digital dollar and the universal basic income designed to lure us to it, we will become slaves. This is the end game and the goal – totalitarian control over literally everything including people.  And you and I are not going to be the ones holding the chains of humanity’s oppression. We’ll be wearing them.

Author: Mac Slavo
Views:
Date: October 28th, 2020
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

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Cannabis can help fight coronavirus, study says

Cannabis could be a new weapon in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), researchers say. A new study by scientists at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta says that cannabidiol (CBD) — the main non-psychoactive component of marijuana — can help fight the coronavirus by lowering the number of cell receptors available for the latter to attach to.

“There’s a lot of documented information about cannabis in cancer, cannabis in inflammation, anxiety, obesity and whatnot,” said Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, who co-authored the study alongside his wife, Dr. Olga Kovalchuck, and a team of other researchers from Lethbridge. “When COVID-19 started, Olga had the idea to revisit our data, and see if we can utilize it for COVID.”

“It was like a joker card, you know, coronavirus. It just mixes up everybody’s plans,” Olga added.

The Kovalchuks’ have been working with cannabis since 2015, using varieties from around the world to create new hybrids and develop extracts that demonstrate certain therapeutic properties.

CBD reduces available ACE2 receptors for the virus to latch on to

For the study, published in pre-peer review server Preprints, the researchers partnered with cannabis therapy research company Pathway Rx — of which Igor Kovalchuck is the CEO — and cannabinoid-based research company Swysh.

The team created 3D tissue models with human oral, mucociliary and intestinal tissues and tested them with different samples of high CBD extracts. The extracts were low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. (Related: CBD vs. coronavirus? Potential natural remedies that promote immunity.)

With this setup, the researchers then observed the effect that the extracts had on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor that the virus uses to enter human cells.

The results of the researchers’ tests demonstrated that the extracts helped reduce the number of these receptors that the coronavirus could use to “hijack” host cells.

“A number of them have reduced the number of [ACE2] receptors by 73 percent, the chance of it getting in is much lower,” stated Igor.

“If they can reduce the number of receptors, there’s much less chance of getting infected,” he added.

In addition to ACE2, the researchers also looked into other receptors such as transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), which allows the virus to invade cells more easily and multiply quickly.

“Imagine a cell being a large building,” explained Kovalchuk to CTV News. “Cannabinoids decrease the number of doors in the building by, say, 70 percent, so it means the level of entry will be restricted. So, therefore, you have more chance to fight it.”

Clinical trials still needed but exploring therapeutic options is important

The researchers’ early findings indicate that the CBD extracts could be used in inhalers, mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and home treatment.

However, they say that people looking for CBD extracts to fight the coronavirus won’t be able to do so at their local dispensaries yet. They state that the current medical cannabis and CBD products, while helpful for a lot of ailments, are not designed to treat or prevent infection from COVID-19.

“The key thing is not that any cannabis you would pick up at the store will do the trick,” said Olga.

With this in mind, the researchers are now actively pursuing clinical trials. They stressed that their data is already based on human tissue models, so these trials are a natural next step.

They also highlight the importance of exploring every therapeutic option when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.

“Given the current dire and rapidly developing epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue needs to be considered.”

“We need to bring it to the people,” says Olga. “We need to fight the beast.”

Visit Pandemic.news to learn more about how health experts are learning to fight the coronavirus.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

Preprints.org

Calgary.CTVNews.ca

Covid: Killing Fields of the Old and Sick?

Percent of Covid deaths who were in nursing homes

Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:

The numbers are sickening and impossible to ignore. Throughout the United States the Coronavirus “pandemic” looks more and more like a war on the elderly and sick than a mysterious new virus that was so dangerous and unknown that the entire country (with notable exceptions – South Dakota for example) had to be completely locked down tighter than Guantanamo Bay.

Nationwide, 42 percent of the Covid-19 death toll was comprised of Americans who were confined to live-in care facilities. While at first it was easy to simply gasp at a disease so cruel that it seemed to target older people, now that the smoke has cleared it is becoming painfully – and criminally – obvious that the virus had some very powerful human enablers.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has shamelessly used the coronavirus crisis to puff up his national political profile, ordered the elderly hospitalized with Covid back to their nursing homes where they could spread the virus like so many Typhoid Marys. Amid calls for a Federal probe into Cuomo’s callous and deadly decision to rip elderly patients from their hospital beds and send them back to cramped senior facilities, Cuomo demurs, blaming…you guessed it: Trump!

In Pennsylvania a particularly cruel (and unelected) creature, Rachel Levine, in charge of the state’s Covid policy oversaw a virus outbreak that claimed the elderly in care facilities as 70 percent of the entire state’s death toll. Astonishing! A real genocide of the old. Of course before she ordered those elderly hospitalized with Covid back to their care facilities to infect and kill others she moved her own mother out of the facilities and into a hotel.

Under the Mussolini of Michigan, the Covid-ravaged elderly were also returned to their care facilities where they could infect and kill their housemates. Governor Gretchen Whitmer seemed to actually gain pleasure from destroying untold lives with her strict lockdown orders, stooping so low as to strip a 77 year old barber of his license for daring to open his shop against her will as he faced starvation. She loved pushing around working people, who were nearly immune to the virus. But when it came to actually protecting the vulnerable layers of society, she was AWOL.

These shameful policies were followed in many states and while at first when little was known about the outbreak, there might be some room for acceptable error. But as it became clear the demographics of who were most vulnerable, it has become indefensible to focus all resources on shutting down restaurants, bars, churches, mom and pop shops, schools while ignoring that the virus preyed almost exclusively on the old and sick. Yes, shut down elementary schools where virtually no one fell victim, but throw open the doors to the old folks home where the virus raged like a tsunami. Brilliant move.

Coincidence? We should not discount the possibility that sheer government incompetence is responsible for this massive failure and resulting senior killing fields. Maybe there is more to it. The sanctity of life in the United States has been degraded for years, including via a foreign policy that considers half a million dead Iraqi children “worth it” to undermine Saddam Hussein’s rule. A foreign policy that doesn’t blink when an estimated 40,000 Venezuelan civilians die from US sanctions. A foreign policy that has spend the past nine years arming literal Islamist terrorists to overthrow the secular rule of Syria’s Assad with hundreds of thousands dead in the process and nary a notice in the US mainstream media.

When one embraces the idea that it’s OK to kill millions overseas to maintain a US global empire that only enriches the Beltway military-industrial-Congressional-media-think tank complex, it is not a far leap to embrace the idea that seniors are expendable. When some lives are not considered worth saving – from pre-cradle to grave – it is a slippery slope to view others also not worth saving.

US Pirates of the Caribbean

“American global power right now is seen as a farce. It has been devastated by a virus and shown to be a lying cheat over its attempt to smear China and the World Health Organization. Its sanctioning against nations struggling with a deadly disease is barbaric terrorism; and while millions of Americans are facing poverty, the US is sending warships and warplanes to all corners of the world.”
sputniknews.com
May 21, 2020

You have to be amused at this headline: “US masses planes at Japan airbase to show foes and allies it can handle coronavirus,” reports Reuters.

So, let’s get this straight. At a time when the US is leading the world with deaths and infections from the disease, the Pentagon views flexing muscles with warplanes in the Asia Pacific is somehow a demonstration of American potency.

While the American public is crying out for more resources to cope with the pandemic, Washington sees fit to ramp up militarism not just in the Asia Pacific, but also in the Arctic region, the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean.

US warships despatched to the Caribbean are said to be on a mission to counter-narcotic trafficking. Few people will buy that pretext. The military force is deployed as a threat to Venezuela and its socialist government which the Trump administration has openly targeted for regime change.

A failed coup attempt earlier this month involving a private US mercenary outfit may or may not have had official support from the White House.

But one thing is clear: when Russia proposed a statement of support for Venezuela at the UN Security Council this week in which the failed coup was denounced as a violation of the UN charter forbidding aggression, the draft statement was “killed” by Washington’s envoy.

The implication is that Washington’s public position sees nothing wrong with aggression despite the flagrant violation of international law that it involves.

In that case, it could be expected that the US will attempt to block Iranian oil tankers en route to Venezuela. If aggression is acceptable to Washington then why not also a bit of high-seas piracy?

Five Iranian-flagged tankers are due to dock in the South American country in the coming days. They are reportedly ferrying $45 million worth of gasoline to alleviate Venezuela’s crippled economy as it struggles like many other nations to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Venezuela is a major exporter of crude oil but due to US sanctions its capacity to refine fuel has been decimated. This has caused severe shortages for Venezuelan transport which has, in turn, exacerbated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both Venezuela and Iran have warned the US to not interfere in the sea passage of the oil tankers. Both countries have been burdened with American sanctions, but they are legally entitled to conduct bilateral trade. If US warships impede the transport, then it will be viewed by Venezuela and Iran as an act of piracy. We might add that the rest of the world will view it that way too. An act of piracy compounding acts of economic aggression under heartless US sanctions.

Given the pandemic crisis, Iran’s supply of vital fuel to Venezuela is not merely a normal trade transaction, but a courageous act of solidarity and humanitarian aid.

The Trump administration has mischievously indicated it will do something to stop the Iranian ships reaching Venezuela. What that something is open to guesswork. Will it use its warships in the Caribbean to mount a blockade?

Iran has warned it will retaliate. Perhaps by attacking American warships in the Persian Gulf, where skirmishing has already taken place.

Venezuela says it is sending naval forces to escort the Iranian tankers once they arrive in its territorial waters.

In the next coming days, a showdown awaits which could have explosive repercussions, not least because the Iranian tankers are reckoned to contain 1.5 million barrels of gasoline.

The US head of Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, this week played down the probability of an armed confrontation with the Iranian vessels.

He is quoted as saying: “You have to ask yourself what interest Iran has in Venezuela, where we have seen recent indications of Iranian military and state support?”

Eh, let’s guess Admiral Faller, maybe simply an act of solidarity by two nations who are under the boot of American imperialism and illegal sanctions that amount to a crime against humanity.

American global power right now is seen as a farce. It has been devastated by a virus and shown to be a lying cheat over its attempt to smear China and the World Health Organization. Its sanctioning against nations struggling with a deadly disease is barbaric terrorism; and while millions of Americans are facing poverty, the US is sending warships and warplanes to all corners of the world.Washington won’t dare do piracy in the Caribbean at this juncture. Because it can’t afford another fiasco. Its global image is already in tatters.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

“Like It Was Designed To Infect Humans”: COVID-19 ‘Cell Culture’ Theory Gains Steam

A scientific study which found COVID-19 may have been a “cell-culture” uniquely adapted for transmission to humans (more so than any other animal – including bats), is gaining steam.

The paper, currently under peer review, comes from Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who has spent over two decades developing vaccines against influenza, Ebola, and animal Sars. He says his findings allow for the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a laboratory, according to Sky News.

“The two possibilities which I think are both still open is that it was a chance transmission of a virus from an as yet unidentified animal to human. The other possibility is that it was an accidental release of the virus from a laboratory,” said Petrovsky, adding “Certainly we can’t exclude the possibility that this came from a laboratory experiment rather than from an animal. They are both open possibilities.”

Professor Petrovsky, who is the Chairman and Research Director of Vaxine Pty Ltd, said COVID-19 has genetic elements similar to bat coronaviruses as well as other coronaviruses.

The way coronavirus enters human cells is by binding to a protein on the surface of lung-cells called ACE2. The study showed the virus bound more tightly to human-ACE2 than to any of the other animals they tested.

It was like it was designed to infect humans,” he said.

“One of the possibilities is that an animal host was infected by two coronaviruses at the same time and COVID-19 is the progeny of that interaction between the two viruses. –Sky News

“The same process can happen in a petri-dish,” added Petrovsky. “If you have cells in culture and you have human cells in that culture which the viruses are infecting, then if there are two viruses in that dish, they can swap genetic information and you can accidentally or deliberately create a whole third new virus out of that system.”

“In other words COVID-19 could have been created from that recombination event in an animal host or it could have occurred in a cell-culture experiment.”

In January, Petrovsky began modeling the virus to try and create a vaccine candidate. According to the report, he then began to explore “what animal species might have been involved in the transmission to humans” in order to better understand the origins of the virus, when he discovered how well it infects humans over other species.

We found that the COVID-19 virus was particularly well-adapted to bind to human cells and that was far superior to its ability to bind to the cells of any other animal species which is quite unusual because typically when a virus is well-adapted to an animal and then it by chance crosses to a human, typically, you would expect it to have lower-binding to human cells than to the original host animal. We found the opposite so that was a big surprise,” he said.

When asked why mainstream scientists are still clinging to the theory that the virus originated in a Wuhan wet market, he said that scientists “try not to be political” but that scientists who support the lab escape theory risk negatively impacting their industry with tighter laboratory controls.

“For instance, if it was to turn out that this virus may have come about because of an accidental lab release that would have implications for how we do viral research in laboratories all around the world which could make doing research much harder,” he said, adding “So I think the inclination of virus researchers would be to presume that it came from an animal until proven otherwise because that would have less ramifications for how we are able to do research in the future. The alternative obviously has quite major implications for science and science on viruses, not just obviously political ramifications which we’re all well aware of.”

Petrovsky has called for immediate investigation now, and not when the pandemic is over – calling any delay in fact-finding a “mistake.”

“I’m certainly very much in favour of a scientific investigation. Its only objective should be to get to the bottom of how did this pandemic happen and how do we prevent a future pandemic…. not to have a witch-hunt.”

US pandemic cover-up responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands

Saving Wall Street, not lives

The deliberate efforts by the federal government to muzzle scientists and downplay the disease, combined with massive delays in the roll-out of testing, led states to begin restrictions far too late.

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Andre Damon

May 22, 2020

 

On Wednesday, researchers from Columbia University released a study showing that the massive US death toll, now approaching 100,000, is a direct consequence of decisions made by the Trump administration.

The study, posted on medRxiv.org, found that if the United States had begun social distancing and other control measures just two weeks earlier, it would have saved the lives of 54,000 people. The implementation of such measures one week earlier would have saved 36,000 lives.

These figures quantify the consequences of the Trump administration’s efforts in January and February to minimize the threat posed by the pandemic. Despite clear evidence and warnings by scientists, Trump and his cabinet members systematically downplayed the significance of the disease. As late as February 28, Trump was still claiming that the coronavirus “is going to disappear” like “a miracle.” Trump condemned those saying that COVID-19 was rapidly spreading throughout the country, declaring, “This is their new hoax.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

But within the government, leading scientists had been ringing the alarm for nearly two months in a futile attempt to make the White House take the most basic measures to prepare for a major pandemic. “Public health officials were fully aware of the emerging threat of COVID-19 by early January 2020,” wrote Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, in a whistleblower complaint.

In a subsequent interview, Bright added “I knew that all of the signs for a pandemic were present. A novel virus, causing significant mortality, and spreading. All the signs were there. It was just a matter of time before that virus left China.”

Bright’s statements tear apart the administration’s claims that “no one could have predicted” the pandemic, and that to the extent the response was delayed in the United States, it was because China lied about the spread of the disease.

Rather, the Trump administration, Bright said, was “intent on downplaying this catastrophic threat.”

The deliberate efforts by the federal government to muzzle scientists and downplay the disease, combined with massive delays in the roll-out of testing, led states to begin restrictions far too late.

New York State implemented its stay-at-home order on March 22, more than two months after community transmission began in the United States in mid-January. Lockdowns in most US cities came three and a half months after Chinese researchers discovered the virus, prompting fears of a global pandemic.

While the Trump administration and the media blame China for delaying the release of information, it now emerges that as many as 50,000 deaths were caused by the White House’s decision to postpone as long as possible the ordering of a lockdown.

Chinese scientists announced a cluster of unexplained illnesses on December 31, and the announcement was widely reported in the United States, including by Reuters, the Associated Press and the New York Times.

The World Socialist Web Site, on the basis of only publicly available data, was able to warn on January 24 that “evidence has emerged that person-to-person infection is occurring.” Four days later, the WSWS wrote, “The outbreak has exposed the enormous vulnerability of contemporary society to new strains of infectious disease, dangers for which no capitalist government has adequately prepared.”

But for months, US officials did nothing to prepare for the coming pandemic. It was not until nearly eight weeks after the first public statements by Chinese health officials that any systematic testing for COVID-19 began in the US.

Even as Trump did nothing to prepare for the spread of COVID-19, he imposed a travel ban on China against the advice of the World Health Organization and his own scientific advisors. Within the federal government, Bright and other scientists within the administration were desperately warning that a travel ban would not prevent the disease from entering the United Sates.

Why, despite the warnings of scientists within his administration, did Trump implement a purely cosmetic measure, whose aim would be to construct the narrative that COVID-19 would be kept out of the country?

Driving the White House’s response to the pandemic from the beginning was not the threat of COVID-19 to human lives, but its impact on the stock market. The White House was well aware that the pandemic would have a devastating impact. But it would come under conditions where Wall Street was already under tremendous strain. The markets had been artificially inflated through years of ultra-low interest rates and “quantitative easing,” which had fueled a massive rise in indebtedness that was undermining corporate profitability and threatening a collapse of the already wildly inflated stock market.

Trump and his advisers knew that the impact of the pandemic would trigger a market selloff, which could only be contained and reversed through the infusion of trillions of dollars in cash from the Federal Reserve and Treasury. In order to gain time, the White House suppressed information and misled the public while this bailout could be prepared.

An article by Edward Luce in the Financial Times last week provided a window into this process. “Nothing could be allowed to frighten the Dow Jones,” the Times wrote, explaining the thinking of the Trump administration. “Any signal that the US was bracing for a pandemic—including taking actual steps to prepare for it—was discouraged.”

The Financial Times quoted one person close to the White House as saying, “Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it.”

Amid the public silence, there was furious activity in the background as lawmakers were preparing what would be the largest government bailout of major corporations in history. The Trump administration was playing for time, keeping the public in the dark while a complex program for bailing out Wall Street could be put into motion.

This time was used to write what would become an 800-page bill known as the CARES Act, which created the framework for a multitrillion-dollar bailout of the financial system by the Federal Reserve and the funneling of hundreds of billions of dollars into major corporations from the Treasury.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the bill on March 25. Within two days, the CARES Act passed the Senate with a unanimous vote and the House with a voice vote. It was signed into law the same day. In other words, the largest redistribution of public funds in human history took just 48 hours.

An article in Foreign Affairs notes that this bailout would “blur the lines, never clear to begin with, between the public and private sectors and transfer a large portion of the global economy onto government balance sheets. This level of spending has no precedent in history—not even close. Not in war. Not in peacetime. Not ever.”

As soon as this bailout was secured, the media immediately changed its tone. It turned from focusing on images of mass death and overcrowded hospitals to “hopeful signs” and “silver linings” in order to declare that the pandemic was all but over and that workers should get back on the job.

Even as 1,500 Americans continue to die every day from COVID-19, all 50 states have reopened businesses, sending workers back to work in unsafe conditions and setting the stage for a massive resurgence of the disease.

The same total disregard for human life that prompted the White House to downplay the pandemic and hamper the federal response is at work in the back-to-work campaign.

Amid warnings by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield that the United States faces a major resurgence of COVID-19, Trump declared yesterday, “Whether it’s an ember or a flame… we’re not closing our country.”

In other words, no matter how high the death toll climbs, the needs of society will not be allowed to interfere with the profit-making of Wall Street. The priority of the government will continue to be the interests of financial oligarchy, not saving lives.

This is why the fight against the pandemic must be waged not only on the medical front, but on the political front as well. The struggle against COVID-19 is inseparable from the broadest possible fight against the criminal policies of the Trump administration and its supine enablers in the Democratic Party.

As the Socialist Equality Party wrote in its recent statement, “Build rank-and-file factory and workplace committees to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus and save lives,” workers must:

Form rank-and-file safety committees in every factory, office and workplace. These committees, democratically controlled by workers themselves, should formulate, implement, and oversee measures that are necessary to safeguard the health and lives of workers, their families and the broader community.

There can be no “business as usual!” The pandemic exposes the urgent necessity for a complete restructuring of the processes of production, distribution and economic activity in general. The lives of working people and their families must not be sacrificed in the interests of corporate profits and the private wealth of billionaire oligarchs.

We urge all those who agree with these demands to draw the necessary political conclusions and take up the fight for socialism.

 

America is Drowning in Problems: Washington is Picking Another Fight With China

The blame China game is really an effort to cover-up the failure of Western governments to deal with a crisis.

The United States and its vassals knew about the virus outbreak in China two months prior to its outbreak in the West and did nothing. Through either inaction or intent, the US, Canada, and Europe imported the virus.

Throughout America, state, local, and federal government  epitomize  failure. Trillions of dollars have been poured into weapons systems that cannot be used without destroying the United States along with the rest of the world, while dams fail, bridges collapse, communities deteriorate, and homelessness grows. The government in Washington spends time, effort, and money manufacturing enemies to justify the budget of the military/security complex, while  jobs and the US economy are offshored, the environment is degraded, and health care needs go unaddressed.   The US rivals third world countries in terms of the percentage of its population that has no savings, no access to health care, and no prospects for advancement in life. 

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Washington is picking yet another fight with China. On top of the trade war we now have the coronavirus war.  China is accused of being responsible for the virus by withholding information about it.  Some in Washington want to make China pay for the cost of the virus by reneging on US debt held by China in the form of US Treasuries.

What information about coronavirus is China supposed to have withheld? 

That China was doing coronavirus research?  How could this information have been withheld when the US State Department knew about it, the N.I.H. was funding it, and US scientists were complaining about the danger?

That coronavirus was ravaging Wuhan?  How was this information withheld when it was in the media every day?

The United States and its vassals knew about the virus outbreak in China two months prior to its outbreak in the West and did nothing. Through either inaction or intent, the US, Canada, and Europe imported the virus. 

The governments refused to stop flights in and out of China and to prevent cruise ships from welcoming passengers from infected areas. Governments did not want to interfere with profits, which came before public health.  Absolutely nothing was done.  No efforts were made to stockpile protective masks and gear, or to protect nursing homes, or to segregate hospital facilities, or to think outside the box about treatments.  The Swedish government was so unprepared that it did not even try to do anything and just let the virus run its course with devastating effects on the elderly.  [Note: There is much disinformation about Sweden from those who believe the virus is a plot to impose police state controls, such as claims that Sweden has kept the economy open without paying for it in a higher death rate and is gaining “herd immunity” against Covid-19.  These claims are contradicted by news reports.  For example: see this and this.]

In an attempt, more or less successful, to reduce the infection rate so that health facilities were not over-burdened, every other country imposed social distancing rules, bans against crowd events, and workplace closures.  As little was known about the disease and the Chinese mortality rate was believed to be vastly understated, there was no responsible alternative to the so-called “lockdowns.”  It remains to be seen whether the concern for profits has produced a premature reopening that will result in a second wave of rapid infection rates. Many suspect that Big Pharma and Bill Gates want to keep the infection spreading in order to panic us into being vaccinated with an inadequately tested vaccine.

The blame China game is really an effort to cover-up the failure of Western governments to deal with a crisis.

The failure of governments to deal with crisis is ubiquitous.  Just think Katrina, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  If you don’t remember or are too young to have experienced the 2005 hurricane via TV, read Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge (see this).

Everyone knew that the levies protecting New Orleans and surrounding areas were unable to withstand a storm of Katrina’s intensity.  The city was a bowl waiting to fill up with the water that wiped out 80% of New Orleans and 150 miles of Gulf Coast communities.   Evacuation orders came too late.  There were no steps taken to evacuate those without cars and resources. The sick and elderly were left in place.  The few steps that were taken to assemble buses, boats, and first responders located the scanty resources in areas that flooded.  The New Orleans Police Department went AWOL. Some joined in the looting. FEMA was a total failure.  President George W. Bush and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff were not focused on the unfolding tragedy but on their creation of a terrortist hoax that was used to justify 20 years of US bombing and invasions of Middle Eastern and North African countries. As Bush had deployed Louisiana’s National Guard to Iraq, the Louisiana governor had to borrow guardsmen from other states.

The US Coast Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries personnel, and private individuals formed the force of first responders. People from Louisiana and from other states showed up on their own time, their own money, and with their own boats and began organizing rescues.  There were many heroic and generous people involved in the rescue. As most of the rescuers were white southerners and most of the rescued were black, it put the lie to the propagandistic picture of the white southern racist. For example, Sara Roberts and her husband Buisson, a descendant of Confederate General P.G.T.Beauregard, organized the Cajun Navy.  Sara enlisted clients of her accounting firm who came up with 35 boats and crews to man them.  One of her clients, Ronny Lovett, paid his construction crews triple wages for their rescue time and spent $200,000 of his money equipping the boats with food, water, medical supplies, chain saws, life jackets, spotlights, ropes and whatever else could contribute to successful rescues. It was individual citizens, not the governments in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington that rescued many thousands of people who otherwise would have perished. 

From its founding day, New Orleans was a man-made disaster waiting to happen.  Dredging, canals, watercourse alterations, pipelines and a variety of other environmental damaging mistakes had over the years destroyed the wetlands that protected the city and Gulf Coast. In order to serve private profit, failure was built into the system. The Great Deluge is an external cost of a political and economic system that puts private profits first.

We are undergoing it again at this moment as areas of Michigan are inundated from floods caused by dam failures. One of the dams, the Edenville Dam was a long known public safety hazard . Boyce Hydro, the owner of the dam, repeatedly failed despite the intervention of regulators to address the known risk.  Not only was Boyce Hydro negligent, but also were the government authorities that permitted the known risk to persist unaddressed.  The lost of life and property from the flooding is an external cost imposed on third parties by Boyce Hydro whose agenda was limited to its profits.

It is as difficult to understand the liberal and progressive belief in government as it is to understand the libertarian belief in the efficacy of the invisible hand that allegedly causes private greed to serve the public’s interest.  Humans are a built-in failure machine.  Their time perspective is short term.  They are always surprised by the unintended consequences of their own thoughtless actions and inactions.

Throughout America, state, local, and federal government  epitomize  failure. Trillions of dollars have been poured into weapons systems that cannot be used without destroying the United States along with the rest of the world, while dams fail, bridges collapse, communities deteriorate, and homelessness grows. The government in Washington spends time, effort, and money manufacturing enemies to justify the budget of the military/security complex, while  jobs and the US economy are offshored, the environment is degraded, and health care needs go unaddressed.   The US rivals third world countries in terms of the percentage of its population that has no savings, no access to health care, and no prospects for advancement in life.   

But we can blow up the world several times over and make mindless interventions in the natural environment that multiply the destructive power of storms, heavy rains, and other natural phenomena.

Another election approaches and yet again there is no acknowledgement of the real problems our country faces or any interest in discussing what to do about them. America and the Western World in general are simply going to drown in their unaddressed problems just as New Orleans drowned in Hurricane Katrina.

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog site, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Ten reasons why immunity passports are a bad idea

Pic added by Tales
Restricting movement on the basis of biology threatens freedom, fairness and public health.
Women in Beijing display a health QR code on their phones as a security guard takes their temperature with a remote sensor

A woman in Beijing shows a health QR code on her phone to access a shopping area, as a security guard checks her temperature. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty

Imagine a world where your ability to get a job, housing or a loan depends on passing a blood test. You are confined to your home and locked out of society if you lack certain antibodies.

It has happened before. For most of the nineteenth century, immunity to yellow fever divided people in New Orleans, Louisiana, between the ‘acclimated’ who had survived yellow fever and the ‘unacclimated’, who had not had the disease1. Lack of immunity dictated whom people could marry, where they could work, and, for those forced into slavery, how much they were worth. Presumed immunity concentrated political and economic power in the hands of the wealthy elite, and was weaponized to justify white supremacy.

Something similar could be our dystopian future if governments introduce ‘immunity passports’ in efforts to reverse the economic catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea is that such certificates would be issued to those who have recovered and tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes the disease. Authorities would lift restrictions on those who are presumed to have immunity, allowing them to return to work, to socialize and to travel. This idea has so many flaws that it is hard to know where to begin.

On 24 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against issuing immunity passports because their accuracy could not be guaranteed. It stated that: “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection”(see go.nature.com/3cutjqz). Nonetheless, the idea is being floated in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and other nations.

China has already introduced virtual health checks, contact tracing and digital QR codes to limit the movement of people. Antibody test results could easily be integrated into this system. And Chile, in a game of semantics, says that it intends to issue ‘medical release certificates’ with three months’ validity to people who have recovered from the disease2.

In our view, any documentation that limits individual freedoms on the basis of biology risks becoming a platform for restricting human rights, increasing discrimination and threatening — rather than protecting — public health. Here we present ten reasons why immunity passports won’t, can’t and shouldn’t be allowed to work.

Ten points

Four huge practical problems and six ethical objections add up to one very bad idea.

COVID-19 immunity is a mystery. Recent data3 suggest that a majority of recovered patients produce some antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. But scientists don’t know whether everyone produces enough antibodies to guarantee future protection, what a safe level might be or how long immunity might last. Current estimates, based on immune responses to closely related viruses such as those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), suggest that recovered individuals could be protected from re-infection for one to two years. But if SARS-CoV-2 immunity instead mimics that seen with the common cold, the protection period could be shorter.

Serological tests are unreliable. Tests to measure SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the blood can be a valuable tool to assess the prevalence and spread of the virus. But they vary widely in quality and efficacy. This has led the WHO and former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb to caution against their use in assessing individual health or immune status. Several available tests are sufficiently accurate, meaning they are validated to have at least 99% specificity and sensitivity. But preliminary data suggest that the vast majority aren’t reliable4. Low specificity means the test measures antibodies other than those that are specific to SARS-CoV-2. This causes false positives, leading people to think they are immune when they aren’t. Low sensitivity means that the test requires a person to have a high concentration of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies for them to be measured effectively. This causes false negatives in people who have few antibodies, leading to potentially immune individuals being incorrectly labelled as not immune.

The volume of testing needed is unfeasible. Tens to hundreds of millions of serological tests would be needed for a national immunity certification programme. For example, Germany has a population of nearly 84 million people, so would require at least 168 million serological tests to validate every resident’s COVID-19 immune status at least twice. Two tests per person are the minimum, because anyone who tested negative might later become infected and would need to be retested to be immune certified. Repeat testing, on no less than an annual basis, would be necessary to ensure ongoing immunity. From June, the German government will receive 5 million serological tests a month from the Swiss firm Roche Pharmaceuticals — a leading supplier of one SARS-CoV-2 serological test that has been approved by regulators. This will allow only 6% of the German population to be tested each month.

Even if immunity passports were limited to health-care workers, the number of tests required could still be unfeasible. The United States, for example, would need more than 16 million such tests. At the time of writing, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US public-health laboratories have performed more than 12 million diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 (3% of the total US population; see go.nature.com/2wemdd2). Even South Korea, a country with high testing rates, had managed to test only 1.5% of its population by 20 May (see go.nature.com/2aztfvp).

Health-care worker draw blood samples from a family wearing facemasks sitting at the dining table in their home in Munich

Health-care workers in Munich, Germany, take blood to test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.Credit: Laetitia Vancon/NYT/Redux/eyevine

Too few survivors to boost the economy. The proportion of individuals known to have recovered from COVID-19 varies widely in different populations. Reports from hot spots in Germany and the United States suggest some locations could have recovery rates between 14% and 30%. In New York state, for example, where 3,000 people were tested at random in grocery shops and other public locations, 14.9% had antibodies against COVID-19 (see go.nature.com/2waaku9). But these seem to be the exception. In an April press conference, the WHO estimated that only 2–3% of the global population had recovered from the virus.

Low disease prevalence combined with limited testing capacity, not to mention highly unreliable tests, means that only a small fraction of any population would be certified as free to work. Based on current numbers of confirmed US cases, for example, only 0.43% of the population would be certified. Such percentages are inconsequential for the economy and for safety. A cafe can’t open and serve customers without risk if only a fraction of its staff are certified as immune. A shop can’t turn a profit if only a minuscule proportion of customers are allowed to enter.

Monitoring erodes privacy. The whole point of immunity passports is to control movement. Thus, any strategy for immunity certification must include a system for identification and monitoring. Paper documentation could be vulnerable to forgery. Electronic documentation integrated into a smartphone app would be more resistant to fraud and more effective for contact tracing, retesting and updates of immune status.

But electronic documents present a more serious risk to privacy5. In some Chinese provinces, QR codes on smartphones control entrance into public places on the basis of the individual’s COVID-19 health status. However, these apps report more than COVID-19 information — including people’s locations, travel history, who they’ve come into contact with and other health information, ranging from their body temperature to whether they’ve recently had a cold. Taiwan is also using smartphone apps with alert systems that are directly linked to police departments. The United Kingdom, United States and many other countries are testing various app options. Yet there’s no guarantee that the apps will recede when COVID-19 does. China has announced that elements of its QR-code tracking system are likely to remain in place after the pandemic ends.

Marginalized groups will face more scrutiny. With increased monitoring comes increased policing, and with it higher risks of profiling and potential harms to racial, sexual, religious or other minority groups. During the pandemic, China has been accused of racially profiling residents by forcing all African nationals to be tested for the virus. In other parts of the world, people from Asia have faced spikes in racialized prejudice.

Before this pandemic, stop-and-frisk laws in the United States already disproportionately affected people of colour. In 2019, 88% of people who were stopped and searched in New York City were African American or Latin American (go.nature.com/2jntjym). And during the pandemic, policing continues to target people from minority groups. Between mid-March and the start of May in Brooklyn, New York, 35 of the 40 people arrested for violating physical distancing laws were black6.

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