"Meet The Global Robot Army That's Been Deployed To Fight COVID-19

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"Meet The Global Robot Army That's Been Deployed To Fight COVID-19

In addition to the selfless human heroes who continue to fight the unprecedented global pandemic on its front-lines, there has also been a lesser covered group of virus-fighters, dutifully going about their daily tasks to help battle the virus.

We're referring to the global robot army that has been deployed to fight the virus.

Robots worldwide a

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re doing everything from bathing surfaces with radiation, sanitizing floors, scanning for fevers, spewing anti-microbial gas and enforcing mask wearing, according to the WSJ. Many of the robots are being put to work in areas where humans haven't tread yet, especially in areas like hospital cleaning.

For example, at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, there's a robot that disinfects and dispensing germ-killing fluid from its tanks. The robot weighs 1,050 pounds and is equipped with AI and a bank of cameras and sensors. Similar robots are already being used en masse at Changi in Singapore.

When the outbreak happened in China, UBTech Robotics, based in Shenzhen, China, developed a program to modify its robots to battle the virus. They attached a disinfectant sprayer to their Atris outdoor robot, which allows it to spray in public places. 

They have also modified two other models, the Cruzr and Aimbot, to be able to take people's temperature using thermal cameras. The robot's object-recognition algorithms allow them to also determine whether or not a person is wearing a mask.

Other robots are using UV light in indoor spaces to disinfect. UVC lights have long been used in hospitals to disinfect and sanitize rooms. Since the lights are harmful to humans (but also lethal to microbes), no humans can be in the room while disinfecting is taking place.

UVC lights can clean an entire room in anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the strength of the bulb being used. They can also reach surfaces often missed by human cleaners and kill airborne microbes - a feature that could come in hand if the coronavirus is spreading by people breathing in particles in indoor spaces.

Companies like UVD Robots, launched in Denmark in 2014, are working to try and implement these lights in a safe way for humans, on top of robots that can wander public spaces. Demand for UVC disinfecting robots has "exploded" by 2x to 3x since December of last year, CEO Juul Nielsen says. They are being considered for places like warehouses, prisons and offices and are operating in a manner similar to the way robots are used in areas like melted down nuclear power plants.

Some of the outlook for the industry remains unclear and it is possible that the idea of autonomous robots that clean may lose some of its glimmer after the coronavirus fades. They may also turn out to not be cost effective, compared to traditional manual labor which can easily clean tough to reach surfaces, like door handles.

But Jenny Lee, a 15-year veteran of venture-capital firm GGV Capital, thinks that the focus on robots now will translate to a broader focus on automation going forward. She hopes companies will continue to work on robots with smaller form factors and more autonomy. 

Benjamin Tanner, chief executive of Austin, Texas-based Microchem Laboratory said: “There are manufacturers who have done no testing of their own, and it’s a little bit of buyer beware on the UV market.”

John Rhee, general manager of UBTech Robotics North America concluded: “We talk about flattening the curve, but the need to be vigilant and have increased monitoring and have measures in place to decrease transmission are things that organizations both public and private will have to take seriously for a very long time.”

Tyler Durden

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 01:00

UK Rejects Assange Release Request Amid COVID-19 Crisis, But Frees Thousands Of Others

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UK Rejects Assange Release Request Amid COVID-19 Crisis, But Frees Thousands Of Others

Via ConsortiumNews.com,

Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is not eligible for an early Covid-19 release from prison with other inmates because he is not serving a criminal sentence, the Australian Associated Press has reported.

British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Saturday that some low-risk inm

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ates, weeks from release will be let go with monitoring devices to help avoid a further outbreak of Covid-19 in the nations’ prisons.

Belmarsh Prison in London, file image.

So far 88 prisoners and 15 staff have tested positive for the virus in British prisons. More than 25 percent of the nations’ prison staff are quarantining themselves. 

“This government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law,” Buckland said in a statement. “But this is an unprecedented situation because if coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk.”

The Ministry of Justice told the AAP that Assange won’t be among those released because he isn’t serving a custodial sentence. 

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

Britain will release about 4,000 nonviolent inmates from their prisons to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s Ministry of Justice announced Saturday.

The ministry described prisoners eligible for release as “low-risk offenders,” noting those convicted of violent or sexual offenses will not be considered.

Inmates will be tracked electronically and required to stay home, officials said. — The Hill

In other words, because he has not been convicted of a crime, and is instead only being held on remand pending the outcome of the U.S. extradition request, he must remain in Belmarsh prison with high-risk inmates–the most serious and hardened criminals

WikiLeaks Ambassador Joseph Farrell released this video:

The Daily Maverick reported this week that there is one other prisoner on remand in Belmarsh, who would presumably also be left to rot in the jail as the virus spreads throughout the British prison system. 

Tyler Durden

Sun, 04/05/2020 - 23:50

Fired Navy Carrier Captain Who Penned Leaked Letter Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Fired Navy Carrier Captain Who Penned Leaked Letter Tests Positive For COVID-19

The Navy captain who has been at the center of controversy for penning a scathing letter to the Navy's top command over a lagging response to coronavirus ravaging his crew aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier in the West Pacific — now docked at Guam amid the emergency — has tested positive for COVID-19.

The New

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York Times reports that two Naval Academy classmates of Capt. Brett E. Crozier's who are close to him and his family confirmed the diagnoses even as the US Navy remains mum. There are currently at least 155 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among sailors aboard the aircraft carrier, according to the Pentagon.

"The commander began exhibiting symptoms before he was removed from the warship on Thursday, two of his classmates said," NYT reports.

Capt. Brett E. Crozier, via US Navy

He had been relieved of command but kept his military rank after the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle. He expressed in writing that the Navy's prioritizing military readiness at a moment the virus threatened to spread across his close quarters crew of some 5,000 total sailors was putting lives at risk. 

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Crozier had written. If the Navy focuses on being battle ready, it will lead to “losses to the virus,” Crozier had said.

The firing has unleashed a torrent of criticism against Trump, while others argued that in the military, following your conscience often means losing your stripes.

The Pentagon, however, framed it in terms of irresponsible utilization of "chain of command" and unclassified communications systems, putting national security at risk.

The Times reports further:

Thomas B. Modly, the acting secretary of the Navy, said he had lost confidence in Crozier’s ability to command the ship effectively as it dealt with the evolving crisis after Crozier sent the letter on an unclassified email system to 20 to 30 people.

Sending such a letter, Modly said, caused unnecessary alarm about the operational readiness of the ship and undermined the chain of command. “In sending it out pretty broadly, he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked,” Modly said. “And that’s part of his responsibility.”

The controversial firing was capped Friday with a dramatic sendoff given by hundreds of sailors as Crozier disembarked from the ship for the last time.

Video showed a crowded deck as the carrier was at Guam - where infected and quarantined individuals have been removed to the naval base - chanting Crozier's name in an emotional show of support as the now former carrier commander waved goodbye.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 04/05/2020 - 16:45

COVID-19 Patients Mistakenly Delivered To Navy Hospital Ship In New York

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COVID-19 Patients Mistakenly Delivered To Navy Hospital Ship In New York

Multiple coronavirus patients were mistakenly transferred from New York's Javits Center to the Navy hospital ship Comfort on Friday, according to Fox News, citing three US officials.

Until Friday, Javits was only treating non-coronavirus cases until President Trump - at NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's request - authorized the

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facility to bring on COVID-19 patients. This meant that the existing patients at Javits - a few dozen - had to be transferred to Comfort some 10 blocks away. The ship is only supposed to treat trauma patients, not those infected with coronavirus. 

The number of patients on board Comfort is "less than five," according to one official. Of note, the patients had initially screened as negative for the virus, while up to half of those infected with coronavirus show no symptoms, according to new data.

The top general leading the coronavirus response for the U.S. military told Fox News there was another COVID-19 patient who showed up to the hospital ship Comfort in New York earlier Saturday after being delivered by ambulance. The patient later tested positive on board while in isolation.

We are treating the emergency situation that needs to be treated,” Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy said in a phone interview with Fox News Saturday afternoon and disclosed the new case aboard Comfort. -Fox News

Current protocol is to test patients before they come onboard Comfort, isolate them, and then wait for the results.

Navy officials reasoned that since only a handful of patients had tested positive, their existing protocols are working. They also noted that this illustrates the complexity of the situation.

Comfort, which arrived in New York on Monday, is currently docked on Pier 90 located on Manhattan's west side. It is said to have a "couple dozen" patients on board according to the Pentagon's top spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman.

The positive patients were transferred off of Comfort and back to Javits on Saturday morning to continue treatment according to one official.

The Javits Center has been transformed into a 3,000 bed makeshift hospital by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The officials called the risk to the hospital ship’s crew “low,” because of the protocols were already in place.

“We were prepared with a contingency plan in case we received patients that later tested positive. Immediately upon arrival the patients were isolated while awaiting the test results,” the official added.

Another official pointed out this was why the hospital ship did not want to fill all 1,000 beds on board too quickly because the risk of the virus coming on board is so great. -Fox News

The crew of Comfort is now in the process of sanitizing areas in which the patients were housed, while all US Navy medical personnel were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

"We have infectious disease specialists on board as well," an official told Fox.

"The Comfort has infection control procedures that are followed just like hospitals ashore. Our medical experts on board are well prepared for cases like this, and have taken the appropriate precautionary measures. The patients were isolated and received care aboard the ship while working to transfer the patients as soon as practical to the Javits Federal Medical Station, which is treating COVID-19 patients. The Comfort is capable of continuing its mission," said Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko - a spokeswoman for the US Second Fleet.

Coronavirus has claimed just over 65,000 lives worldwide as of this writing, of which more than 3,000 were in New York.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 04/05/2020 - 10:05

How China's Fake-News-Machine Is Rewriting The History Of COVID-19, Even As The Pandemic Unfolds

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How China's Fake-News-Machine Is Rewriting The History Of COVID-19, Even As The Pandemic Unfolds

Authored by Robert Boxwell via The South China Morning Post,

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s retweet of an article blaming the US for infecting Wuhan with coronavirus went viral, viewed 160 million times within hours. But where did the story come from?

By now, the early history of Co

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vid-19 is well known, if not clear in its details. The virus was first detected somewhere around Wuhan, in Hubei province, then appears to have entered the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, from where it infected many others. Doctors in Wuhan first noticed the novel coronavirus in December and began exchanging urgent warnings.

Local government authorities set out to silence them; some were detained and made to sign documents admitting wrongdoing.Meanwhile, Wuhan officials went about business as usual, which included a disastrous Lunar New Year banquet attended by about 40,000 families. Soon, many more thousands around Wuhan were infected, with hundreds dead or dying, including ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who had been punished for trying to raise the alarm.Realising it was in the firing line not just for running the nation that had unleashed the deadly virus on the world but also for ignoring, covering up and denying its spread, China’s Communist Party moved into damage-control mode. This included suggesting it was the United Statesthat was responsible for the virus.

Chinese state media regularly tweet propaganda and what many describe as “fake news”. Global Times has 1.7 million followers on Twitter; China Xinhua News, 12.6 million; People’s Daily, 7.1 million; China Daily, 4.3 million; and China Global Television Network (CGTN), 14 million.

Zhao Lijian, spokesman and deputy director general of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Kyodo

Zhao Lijian, spokesman and deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ information department, had 287,000 followers when he tweeted a link to a conspi­racy website alleging the US was responsible for the virus. (Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying had 146,700 followers; the ministry’s “spokesperson” account, used by Geng Shuang, had 61,000; and Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, had 175,000.)

With the outbreak of an epidemic, one of the first jobs of scientists and doctors, even while they fight to save lives, is to identify its source. This is critical in the search for medicines to combat a virus and a vaccine to prevent its spread.

On January 24, an article written jointly by 29 Chinese medical doctors and scientists was published in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals. The authors shared their findings from a study of patients who were suspected of having been infected with 2019-nCoV and had been admitted to a Wuhan hospital. The report said that by January 2, 41 of them had been “laboratory-confirmed” as infected with the virus – which causes Covid-19 – and two-thirds of those infected “had been exposed to the Huanan market”.

The findings appeared to support anecdotal evidence that the source of the virus was the market, which had been closed by city officials on January 1. This had been often repeated by Chinese authorities and reported widely in the global media. The Lancet article gave scientific currency to this narrative.

Then, on February 19, another study – this time published on ChinaXiv.org, an open repository and distribution website used by scientific researchers – suggested the market was likely not ground zero for the virus, but rather that it had been “imported”from outside.

The study was by a team of scientists from several institutions: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Sciences; South China Agricultural University; and the Chinese Institute for Brain Research. It was revised on February 21. Neither version of the study suggested Covid-19 had originated outside China.

But the fake news machine was about to go to work.

On February 23, the People’s Daily’s English-language site reprinted a February 22 Global Times article titled, “Japanese TV report sparks speculations in China that Covid-19 may have originated in US”. The original Global Times article, which is no longer available online, began: “A report from a Japanese TV station that suspected some of the 14,000 Americans died of influenza may have unknowningly [sic] contracted the coronavirus has gone viral on Chinese social media, stoking fears and speculations in China that the novel coronavirus may have originated in the US.

“The report, by TV Asahi Corporation of Japan, suggested that the US government may have failed to grasp how rampant the virus have gone [sic] on the US soil.”

The article continued: “The story sparked various conspiracy theories on [sic] Chinese cyberspace.

“The Military World Games were held in Wuhan in October. ‘Perhaps the US delegates brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, and some mutation occurred to the virus, making it more deadly and contagious, and causing a wide­spread outbreak this year,’ a user posted on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

“[An] international relations professor at the Shanghai-based Fudan University, noted that global virologists are working to track the origin of the virus, including the intel­ligence agencies. Netizens are encouraged to actively par­take in discussions, but preferrably [sic] in a rational fashion.”

The original Global Times article appears to have been replaced with one about the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s denial of the TV Asahi report.

On March 4, the People’s Daily reprint of this article was used as the basis for a piece published on conspiracy website GlobalResearch.ca, titled “China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?” It was the first of two articles on the website that would lead to Zhao’s tweet nine days later suggesting the US Army had brought the virus to Wuhan.

The March 4 article begins: “The Western media quickly took the stage and laid out the official narrative for the outbreak of the new coronavirus which appeared to have begun in China, claiming it to have originated with animals at a wet market in Wuhan.”

This omits a few salient facts: that China’s state-controlled media had also “laid out the official narrative”; that reporters had received that narrative from the Chinese government; and that in the early days of the outbreak, the majority of evidence, including the Lancet article by 29 Chinese doctors, pointed to the Wuhan market.

The Global Research article continues: “In fact the origin was for a long time unknown but it appears likely now, according to Chinese and Japanese reports, that the virus originated elsewhere, from multiple locations, but began to spread widely only after being introduced to the market.

“More to the point, it appears that the virus did not originate in China and, according to reports in Japanese and other media, may have originated in the US.”

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times. Photo: SCMP / Simon Song

The article then presents a subheading that inflates “may have originated in the US” to “Chinese Researchers Conclude the Virus Originated Outside of China”. Under­neath, it quotes two reports – a February 22 article in Global Times and a February 23 article in CGTN – both about the ChinaXiv study, which did not suggest the virus originated outside China.

But Global Research wanted readers to draw the conclusion that it did, and so it created some dots to be connected: “Chinese medical authorities – and ‘intelligence agencies’ – then conducted a rapid and wide-ranging search for the origin of the virus, collecting nearly 100 samples of the genome from 12 different countries on 4 continents, identifying all the varieties and mutations. During this research, they determined the virus outbreak had begun much earlier, probably in November, shortly after the Wuhan Military Games.

“They then came to the same independent conclusions as the Japanese researchers – that the virus did not begin in China but was introduced there from the outside.”

That was not the “conclusion” of the scientists who posted their research on ChinaXiv.

Next, citing a February 27 story on Xinhuanet, Global Research invokes a Chinese national hero, Zhong Nanshan, who led the fight to contain severe acute respiratory syn­drome in 2003. “China’s  top respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan said on January 27 … ‘Though the Covid-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China’.”

Global Research translates this for its readers: “But that is Chinese for ‘it originated someplace else, in another country’.”

Zhong did not say that. Neither did Xinhuanet. And the “Japanese researchers” Global Research refers to are never identified. The only reference to a Japanese source is: “In February of 2020, the Japanese Asahi news report (print and TV) claimed the coronavirus originated in the US, not in China …”

Global Research offers no link to Asahi, only a link to the February 23 People’s Daily article, which also has no Asahi link but was a reprint of the Global Times story, which appears to have been revised on February 22, and – you guessed it – provides no Asahi link.

An online search for “Asahi news coronavirus originated in the US” from February 1 to 29 reveals no link to any such Asahi article. Neither does a search of the Asahi news website, which returns 688 articles containing the word “coronavirus” through March 4. But not this one.

Global Research also cites the Fudan University quote in Global Times: “[The professor] stated that global virologists ‘including the intelligence agencies’ were tracking the origin of the virus. Also of interest, the Chinese government did not shut the door on this. The news report stated: ‘Netizens are encouraged to actively partake in discussions, but prefer­ably in a rational fashion.’

“In China, that is meaningful. If the reports were rubbish, the government would clearly state that, and tell people to not spread false rumours.”

Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded by the police after alerting colleagues to a Sars-like virus and who later died of Covid-19. Photo: Weibo

The final piece of “evidence” in Global Research’s March 4 article is headed “Taiwan Virologist Suggests the Coronavirus Originated in the US”, and includes an embedded video of a Taiwan television show, identified as This! Is Not News, and a screenshot of a man with a pointer giving a colourful lecture about the origins of the virus. “The man in the video is a top virologist and pharmacologist who performed a long and detailed search for the source of the virus,” claims the article.

Except the man in the video – whom the report does not name – is not a virologist at all. He is a politician from the pro-Beijing New Party and a member of the Taipei City Council, who, before entering politics full time in 2002, was a pharmacology professor.

The clip opens with an introduction from a man in a crew cut, who talks about China and Russia and Georgian defectors carrying American biowarfare secrets, and mosquitoes and bats developed by the US for diabolical purposes. As he talks, tabloid-sized purple characters scroll along the bottom of the screen, punctuated with question marks and exclamation marks, and the one English acronym every conspiracy theorist worldwide knows: “CIA!”

Capping his performance is a 1981 analysis purported to have been carried out by the US Army that showed the attraction of “entomological warfare” to the US military and American taxpayers: 50 per cent of a city of 1.2 million people could be wiped out at a per-corpse cost of 29 cents.

Military Personnel stand guard outside the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. Photo: AFP

Up next, “the man in the video”notes that, while the man with the crew cut had been talking in terms of Cold War-style geopolitics where everybody fears and loathes everybody else, he is there solely to discuss science. Then he waves a pointer with a plastic yellow index finger at its tip, indicating diagrams of multicoloured circles. As the most complex diagram arrives on screen, he reassures the show’s hostess, “The next slide will make it very clear.”

Such was Global Research’s Taiwan “expert evidence”. Undaunted, the article continues: “The Taiwanese doctor then stated the virus outbreak began earlier than assumed, saying, ‘We must look to September of 2019’.

“He stated the case in September of 2019 where some Japanese travelled to Hawaii and returned home infected, people who had never been to China. This was two months prior to the infections in China and just after the CDC suddenly and totally shut down the Fort Detrick bio-weapons lab claiming the facilities were insufficient to prevent loss of pathogens.”

The introduction of the US Army’s Fort Detrick bio-weapons lab is a solid piece of conspiracy theory crafts­manship. The “man in the video” had not mentioned Fort Detrick – Global Research did, in an apparent attempt to tie the Taiwanese “virologist’s” Japanese travellers who visited Hawaii in September to a US Army bioweapons lab.

The Fort Detrick facility had not been “suddenly and totally shut down” – it ceased research in mid-July (and not in September). And how one of the most contagious viruses in history travelled from Maryland to Hawaii over a six- to eight-week period, leaving no trail of illness and death, goes unexamined by Global Research.

Renowned Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan. Photo: Xinhua

For good measure, the article closes by listing six outbreaks in 2018, 2019 and 2020 of “pandemics” that “sickened” and “killed” people, chickens and pigs in China. Each includes notes such as, “China needs to purchase US agricultural products,” suggesting that as part of the trade war, the US has been unleashing pathogens in the mainland for more than two years in order to make China buy American.

In summary, the March 4 article invokes mainland hero Zhong, the “Japanese” and the “Taiwanese” – two American allies with no reason to lie – and adds the “CIA” and a leaky US bioweapons research lab for spice. All independent and none really confirming the others while appearing to come close. Perhaps most impressive of all, the author produced almost 2,000 America-bashing words, and not one of them was “Trump”.

On March 5, without citing the Global Research March 4 piece or any of the underlying Chinese media articles, Zhao tweeted: “Confirmed cases of #COVID19 were first found in China, but its origin is not necessarily in China. We are still tracing the origin.”

On March 11, Global Research published a follow-up: “COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US”.

The story begins by recapping the March 4 article, upgrading the never-found Japanese Asahi broadcasters and the “man in the video” to “Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists [who] have deter­mined that the new coronavirus could have originated in the US”. The “man in the video” was now also a “physician” and a “scientist”.

Personnel working inside Fort Detrick. Photo: AFP

Recalling his attempt to place the first Covid-19 case in the US, Global Research again points out, “immediately prior to that, the CDC totally shut down the US Military’s main bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, due to an absence of safeguards against pathogen leakages, issuing a complete ‘cease and desist’ order to the military”.

As evidence, Global Research had posted a screenshot of an August 5 New York Times headline, “Deadly Germ Research Is Shut Down at Army Lab Over Safety Concerns; Problems with disposal of dangerous materials led the government to suspend research at the military’s leading biodefence centre”.

In fact, the New York Times article had not stated the centre had been “totally shut down”. It had reported that 900 people worked at the facility and, “Although many projects are on hold, [a facility spokeswoman] said scien­tists and other employees are continuing to work, just not on select agents”. Both The New York Times and a local newspaper that first reported the cessation of the research noted that no pathogens had escaped the facility.

Global Research’s March 11 story continues: “We also had the Japanese citizens infected in September of 2019, in Hawaii, people who had never been to China, these infec­tions occurring on US soil long before the outbreak in Wuhan but only shortly after the locking down of Fort Detrick.

“Then, on Chinese social media, another article appeared, aware of the above but presenting further details. It stated in part that five ‘foreign’ athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games (October 18-27, 2019) were hospitalised in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.”

The opening ceremony of the CISM Military World Games, in Wuhan. Photo: Reuters

That other article is a blog on Chinese social media, identified only by a QR code, that began: “Because there have been so many American dogs recently, in consider­ation for my account’s safety, [I must write] ‘some country’ or ‘M Country’ [when referring to America].”

The blog entry, which appeared to be a work in progress and is no longer online, recycled much of Global Research’s March 4 article, adding screenshots of local news stories about US military personnel in Wuhan for the October military gameswho were hospitalised.

According to Global Research: “The article explains more clearly that the Wuhan version of the virus could have come only from the US because it is what they call a ‘branch’ which could not have been created first because it would have no ‘seed’. It would have to have been a new variety spun off the original ‘trunk’, and that trunk exists only in the US.”

So there it was. A post on “Chinese social media” about “‘foreign’ athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games” in October completed the conspiracy’s journey. The fake news world had rewritten the origin of Covid-19: it was not due to a catastrophic natural occurrence somewhere in or around Wuhan, as the world’s scientists believed, but to a bio­weapon brought to Wuhan by the US Army.

At the end of its March 11 article, Global Research returned to January, citing two articles in Science magazine for further “evidence” of its conspiracy – neither of which states the origin of the virus was, as Global Research puts it, “Not in Wuhan” – tying a bow around the package Zhao would soon forward to hundreds of thousands, who would forward it to hundreds of millions.

On the morning of March 13, Zhao tweeted links to the Global Research articles: “This article is very much important to each and every one of us. Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US. It would be useful to read this prior article for background: China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus …”

Followed by:

“Just take a few minutes to read one more article. This is so astonishing that it changed many things I used to believe in. Please retweet to let more people know about it. China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US? – Global Research: The Western media quickly laid out the official narrative for the outbreak of COVID-19 which appeared to have begun in China …”

By late afternoon, the South China Morning Post reported that the hashtag topic "Zhao Lijian sent out five consecutive tweets questioning the US” had been viewed more than 4.7 million times on Weibo. Twelve hours later, The New York Times reported it had been viewed more than 160 million times.

Zhao’s Twitter followers have increased from 287,000 to more than 500,000. Media worldwide carried stories about his tweets, putting them in front of millions more readers, most of whom would never have seen them on Twitter or Weibo. Fake virus news had gone viral.

In October, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence noted in the first line of its report on Russia’s use of social media to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election, that “information warfare [is] designed to spread disinformation and societal division”. Zhao’s tweets accom­plished both. The disinformation was obvious. Critical thinking in abeyance, plenty of people will believe a claim that the US Army planted Covid-19 in Wuhan; even more will want it to be true.

When US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others began fighting back by loudly and repeatedly calling Covid-19 “the Chinese virus”, social division in the US grew, if that is possible. The media accused Trump of being racist and xenophobic, and inciting more of the same towards Chinese-Americans. This only caused Trump to say it louder and more often.

One wonders how much longer Washington will conti­nue fighting the information war against Beijing with one arm tied behind its back. Chinese media enjoy free run of the US, including on Twitter. The US has no such freedom in China.

Not a few pundits in these past few weeks have predicted Covid-19 will end globalisation, or even “life as we know it”. That seems unlikely, given the short-term nature of people’s memories and how profitable “life as we know it” has been for so many. But given the mischief Zhao’s tweets caused, Beijing’s days on Twitter might be numbered.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 22:50

From 'Nightmare' To 'Surprisingly Seamless' - Small Business Owners Describe COVID-19 Bailout Experiences

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From 'Nightmare' To 'Surprisingly Seamless' - Small Business Owners Describe COVID-19 Bailout Experiences

The Trump administration's $350 billion SBA Paycheck Protection Program was launched on Friday as part of the $2 trillion bailout package, letting small businesses gain access to capital for payroll and other overhead costs.

As we reported on Friday, the rollout went horribly awry for some - with banks suc

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h as BofA requiring an existing credit line to qualify, surprising many. JPM delayed the rollout until 1pm, while Wells Fargo and others completely dropped the ball.

That said, it wasn't all bad on Friday - with some business owners such as small business owner Kyle Stewart, who told Bloomberg that the process was "surprisingly seamless" when he applied for a loan to keep his batting-cage and baseball training business afloat.

After spending two hours gathering the payroll and business information required and completing the Paycheck Protection Program application Thursday night, Kyle found uploading the form to the bank’s portal Friday morning was “surprisingly seamless” and automated.

After San Francisco announced a shelter-in-place order on March 16, Stewart told his five hourly workers he wouldn’t be able to pay them going forward. The timing couldn’t have been worse, as his company makes 60% of its profit in the month of March ahead of the baseball season. He’s hoping the loan will help keep them on until the business is able to reopen. -Bloomberg

"We are still stuck on second base with 2 outs in the ninth inning," said Stewart. "Here is to hoping for a clutch hit from the Feds."


Others, such as Ohio hair salon owner Clara Osterhage found the process to be a "nightmare." After gathering documents in preparation to be one of the first in line with her application on Friday, she was told by her small regional bank at 11 a.m. that they weren't going to be able to submit applications that day, and that 'even big banks weren't able to do it.'

"This is a nightmare," she said, adding that she doesn't have a clue when she'll gain access to the funds she needs.

"How do I feel? Uncertain with a capital ‘U.'"

Goat's milk soap maker Theresa Richard of Arnaudville, Louisiana was "at a loss" after trying to obtain a loan for her Youngsville store, Bain Amour Bath & Body Co., which has been shut since the state's March 22 stay-at-home order, which has left her lone employee without work.

Richard's local bank, Farmers and Merchants Bank & Trust Co. of Beaux Bridge told her they're still waiting on more information about the program. Her other bank, Chase, sent her an email notifying her that they wouldn't be ready for the program's Friday morning launch.

"Nobody has a real clear idea of what they need in place to start doing the loans," she said.

Community bankers are “rightfully frustrated and, in many cases, livid” after promised online portals never went live on Friday, said Rebeca Romero Rainey, chief executive officer of Independent Community Bankers of America.

It was “a nightmare situation,” Rainey said. “Media reports continue to indicate successful launches through the country by community banks, few of which we have been able to confirm.” -Bloomberg

Robin Schultz, who operates Birmingham, Alabama commercial lighting company Quality Electric, says that despite using the same lender for over two decades that she was surprised to receive an email from them Thursday night notifying her that it hadn't received guidelines from the feds.

After trying to apply at 4 a.m. Friday morning, she received an email around noon to let her know that the site was operational. Moments later, it was down, and she still wasn't able to file paperwork for the loan.

More tales of woe and optimism (via Bloomberg):

‘Eight Weeks Is Ten Years’

Erik Bruun owns SoCo Creamery, an ice cream shop and wholesale supplier in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Foot traffic into his store is slower this time of the year, but is down 60% from where it typically is.

Wholesale ice cream sales, which make up the majority of revenue during the off-season, have completely stopped.

Bruun applied for an emergency loan last week but has yet to hear back. He tried to apply to the paycheck protection program as well, but his local bank told him the application changed and he’d have to wait until they receive instructions to proceed.

The application made it sound like the money would be dispersed in 72 hours. Time is critical right now, and even if his paycheck protection application is approved he’s not sure if the duration will be enough.

“Eight weeks? Eight weeks is ten years right now,” he said. “Eight weeks ago we lived in the allegedly good times. Now we live in the Great Depression.”

One small perk with the lockdown: as people hunker down, pint sales in local grocery stores are up.

‘So Much Confusion’

Wahid Nassar, who runs a restaurant in Highlands, New Jersey, tried going online Friday morning to apply for the loan through his lender, Bank of America, but repeatedly got error messages.

“There’s so much confusion and hard to get a straight answer from anyone right now,” he said.

‘Bringing Hope’

At 9:30 a.m. Friday, the paperwork, so utterly confusing at times, was finally in order for Jason Maxwell. The CEO of MassPay, a payroll and human resources firm that employs 59 people in Beverly, Massachusetts, faxed his application for an SBA loan to his banker in nearby Salem.

Late Thursday, Maxwell was told the federal loan program had tweaked its application. Luckily, Maxwell has a good relationship with his banker, Ed Lomasney, a senior vice president at Salem Five Bank. Lomasney contacted Maxwell, who immediately filled out the new form.

Maxwell has worked with Lomasney for seven years, even switching lenders when the banker relocated to a new financial-services institution three years ago.

“He’s the kind of guy who would knock down doors for us,” Maxwell said of his financial guru, who was too busy Friday with applications to comment.

Maxwell has also been helping other business owners navigate the programs and loans available. He called the owner of his favorite coffee shop, who is not a client, when he heard the man was feeling utterly hopeless, and offered information and advice on how to get some relief.

The programs “are bringing hope to a pretty grim situation,” Maxwell said.

‘Somewhat Optimistic’

Steve Vernetti, owner of Vernetti, an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles that’s a favorite of Mayor Eric Garcetti, said he had to fill out multiple applications because they kept changing, including as recently as Friday morning.

“It seems like the program is being fleshed out in real-time,” Vernetti said.

Vernetti said his business manager has a close relationship with his bank that’s keeping them in the loop, and that “I can only imagine what the confusion is like for those who don’t have the advantages we have.”

The restaurant owner said he’s been paying his 20 employees for two weeks out of his own pocket but won’t be able to continue. If he gets some confirmation of the SBA funding, he’ll consider opening for pickup and delivery services in two weeks.

“I am starting to see a way through this, and I am feeling somewhat optimistic,” Vernetti said.

Let's see what next week brings in the land of struggling business loans...

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 21:35

Outrage After COVID-19 Test-Scammers Set Up Pop-Up Tents In Louisville

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Outrage After COVID-19 Test-Scammers Set Up Pop-Up Tents In Louisville



Unbelievable as it sounds at a moment local and state police are in many instances imposing draconian measures limiting citizens' movement across state borders, and in some instances fining them for not wearing virus protective face gear, as well as ticketing small businesses for alleged price gouging, this one has slipped past authorities, apparently: 








Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In New York Near Nationwide Totals From Italy Spain

zerohedge News confirmed covid-19 cases york near nationwide totals from italy spain cuomo reports promising slowdown hospitalizations live updates All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In New York Near Nationwide Totals From Italy, Spain As Cuomo Reports Promising Slowdown In Hospitalizations: Live Updates






Here's Every Vaccine And Treatment In Development For COVID-19, So Far

zerohedge News heres every vaccine treatment development covid-19 All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Here's Every Vaccine And Treatment In Development For COVID-19, So Far



As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket, healthcare researchers around the world are working tirelessly to discover new life-saving medical innovations.





As Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley notes, the projects these companies are working on can be organized into three distinct groups:




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The Shadow War Playing Out Behind The COVID-19 Crisis

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The Shadow War Playing Out Behind The COVID-19 Crisis

Authored by Gregory Copley via OilPrice.com,

The rush to what is essentially a new wartime footing began consciously and urgently in the first quarter of 2020 between some of the most powerful geopolitical players of the modern era: the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the United Kingdom.

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p>It was not about the “battle” to cope with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, or the global fear pandemic which it engendered, but those contagions broke the cycle of globalism and the belief in the indissoluble nature of interdependence. It allowed what was already emerging as a fundamental move toward a new, bipolar global competition to come out into the open.

By the end of March 2020, the global framework had changed sufficiently to become — behind the headlines about COVID-19 — about which system and ideology would triumph in the decades after the watershed. That meant a race by each of the major antagonists to determine how quickly national productivity could be resumed.

Even so, the failure of most major societies, including the PRC, to prepare for health pandemics, natural disasters, and associated contagions of fear was a significant function of the transformed realities of the “globalist”-dominated political structures over the earlier lessons of national self-reliance. I made this point in a report in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis on November 24, 2008:

The unintended, or unforeseen, consequences of economic dislocation — as this writer has repeatedly noted — can be expected to lead to a rise in globalized (or at least regionalized) pandemic health challenges at a time when societies are weakened. These will lead to wealthier societies becoming more nationalistic and isolated, in some respects, merely to protect themselves. Pandemics will be matched by similar anomic social responses, including rising crime, of which the new era of maritime piracy is merely one aspect

Indeed, it is clear that the best avenue which nation-states can take is one marked by gaining as much control over their own destinies as possible. That requires a growing focus on domestic food self-sufficiency, and domestic market bases for manufactured goods and services. In other words: a return to a sense of the nation. The age of globalization is ending; it was a brief window in which the technologies which were created to fight the Cold War became the technologies of global social integration. Now, again, the luxury of internationalism is ending, and survival is based around the extended clan: the nation.

It was a year later that the global H1N1 pandemic emerged, fortunately without triggering the associated fear pandemic which acted as a force multiplier to the impact of the 2019-20 COVID-19 epidemic.

By 2020, a dozen years later, the transformed strategic landscape meant that information dominance (ID) warfare was far more enabled, particularly as social media evolved as a conduit for mass mobilization to force government actions in Western societies. So there was a general transformation in the social and technological context which prevailed when the panic arose around COVID-19.

But, in order to gain the post-epidemic political high ground, the PRC was first to “declare victory” in managing the COVID-19 epidemic and to send its population back to work, despite the reality of evidence which defied the national statistics on the continuing levels of contagion in the PRC. However, it was clear that the epidemic, having its origins in Wuhan in the PRC, would peak first and begin to recover first. Still, it was the degree of top-down control which PRC Pres. Xi Jinping enjoyed — in contrast to Western heads of government — which enabled the PRC to “declare victory”, and to resume his offensive against the West in a now fairly blatant fashion.

Even so, it was clear that the overall nature of the restructured strategic balance would be less affected by a few weeks (or even months) in the battle to restart economic activity than by underlying fundamentals in systems. Meanwhile, as the information dominance (ID) wars between the PRC and (particularly) the US ramped up, both sides were careful to ensure that the risk of actual physical challenge was minimized.

What were some of the fundamental immediate outcomes and questions raised by the 2020 Fear Pandemic?

1. The global economy and the economies of most states have been dramatically weakened, and they will remain relatively weakened and transformed for some years; in many cases for decades. This means that economic deprivation will reach more pervasively down into the mass of society, reversing the trend of the past seven decades. It will exacerbate the polarization of societies, but seems likely to push the trend toward forms of nationalism more than it will reinforce the ideology of globalism;

2. The power of central governments has been dramatically increased, and the rights and freedoms of individuals constrained. By late March 2020, the situation in most Western societies had approached a quasi-martial law environment, with little social resistance;

3. Funding for R&D, national security, and consumer spending will decline, further exacerbated by the reduction in core size/wealth of most populations in advanced economies. The question is whether the limitation in wealth will exacerbate or constrain inflammatory populism and social action;

4. The role of global bodies has been weakened, as have alliances. This will lead to a rethinking of alliance structures and how to manage them. It will, even if only for reasons of fiscal constraints, lead to an increasing momentum toward the bilateralization of trade, even to the point, once again of thinking in terms of structured barter or counter-trade dealings;

5. The reach of formal military structures will be inhibited by funding, and will this open seams in the global power framework? Will it allow space for more independent, regional actions?;

6. While the Communist Party of China (CPC) probably has the strength to enforce control over the People's Republic of China (PRC), will the European Union (EU) have sufficient cohesion to enforce control over its member states? If the EU cannot "hold it together", would this create a space for Turkey to revive its neo-Ottomanist expansions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Balkans? Did the United Kingdom escape from the EU just in time to preserve its economic base? Did the EU’s poor handling of the crisis end forever the chance of bringing Serbia into the Union? And what will this new dynamic do for the encouragement of separate geopolitical alignments, such as the creation of the Three Seas Initiative as a potentially viable successor to part of the EU? Can Three Seas gain traction if Serbia is excluded, given its regional hub importance for the north-south infrastructural needs of the Alliance?;

7. What skills will be necessary in the post-2020 environment? Has the economy sobered enough to embrace the restoration of practical skills training instead of ideological education which has no market, while an impetus toward revived domestic manufacturing (rather than foreign-sourced manufacturing) will see significant demand for trained personnel?;

8. There was a widespread belief that the crisis had caused a collapse in petroleum and gas prices to the point where the US domestic shale industry would be forced from the marketplace, re-opening the US to the need for imported energy. But this is likely both untrue and irrelevant, and the US would remain considerably less vulnerable to energy exposure than the PRC;

9. The PRC would continue to see extreme vulnerability to food and water shortages, which can only be ameliorated by (a) dependence on imported food and agricultural products, most of which would need to come from the United States (given that other suppliers cannot meet the demand), and (b) reduction in the lifestyles and numbers of the PRC population, a factor which could have significant social-political ramifications;

10. The longer the constraints on societies imposed by the crisis, the more pro-found were the likely post-crisis attitude changes likely to be. In other words, if the crisis lingered in various forms through 2020, it was likely that the year would be seen by society and historians as a breakpoint equivalent to the world wars of the 20th Century;

11. Nowhere in the world have we seen the development of economic theories or approaches to managing societies in decline in terms of economics as well as in terms of the downward transformation of market size and demand. Studies of recent-term lessons from Japan, Russia, and Germany would be helpful, even though these examples all predicated their economic thinking — despite market size decline — on growth in economic opportunity, but with notable shortcomings;

12. Africa, which had moved from a Continent gradually modernizing within the framework of a Western model to one dependent almost solely on the PRC, was likely to be left in an almost ruinous situation by late 2020 and beyond. African societies would themselves be forced to evolve new economic models. There was a likelihood that the US would strongly move, in the post-crisis period, to strengthening its dominance in the Americas (where the PRC, in particular, had built a strong presence), and also in Central Asia, as a means of providing an alternate path in the Eurasian Silk Road complex.

The COVID-19 pandemic will do little to impact the demographic trends in global population numbers. The trend toward population decline was set in place in the second half of the 20th Century and is only now becoming evident. Similarly, the disruption to the global economy also began before the COVID-19 crisis, largely as a result of the global demographic transformation, but the 2020 crisis became an iconic breakpoint.

The post-COVID-19 world would thus be markedly different, structurally, than the world which preceded it. But most significantly, the perception of that "new" world would have changed, ensuring that a linear extrapolation of older remedies or progressions of earlier thinking would no longer be acceptable.

It is important to stress that the two underlying strategic trends impacting the US-PRC competition had begun well before the 2020 pandemic scares. The PRC economy had been essentially in decline for several years, disguised by ongoing state-sponsored investments in infrastructure projects, which boosted the appearance of growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). Moreover, the PRC’s water shortage and quality problems had reached almost panic levels over that same timeframe.

In a talk in Perth, Western Australia, on October 23, 2019, I noted:

[The PRC] has almost 20 percent (18.4 percent) of the world’s population, and yet only seven percent of its water, and of that water some 25 percent, at least [as the PRC Government acknowledges], is polluted, along with much of its agricultural water table [to a far greater degree than the PRC Govt. acknowledges]. And the problem is getting worse. The great water source, the aquifers flowing from the melting snows of the Tien Shan Mountain range in Central Asia, is reducing for the moment.

The result of this, and the fact that Chinese agriculture has not modernized to any great degree, is that the People’s Republic of China is perhaps more strategically dependent on imported food than any great power since Rome. And Rome, arguably, collapsed, finally, for that very reason: its foreign sources of food became less dependable. The PRC Bureau of Statistics in the 1980s recorded that there were some 50,000 rivers in mainland China. But by 2017, there were only some 23,000. Beijing, serviced by the so-called “Three Gorges Dam”, recorded in 2017 that 39.9 percent of its water was so polluted as to be unusable. Tianjin, a principal port city of the north (and with a population of 15-million), had only 4.9 percent of its water in a potable state.

The growing urbanization of the constituent populations of the PRC have made the food and water crises more and more urgent. Urban populations use far more water than rural societies. They also demand more water-intensive food, such as pork and beef, especially as the city-dwellers become more prosperous. And the PRC’s urbanization rate continues apace: by the end of 2017, some 58.52 percent of its population was urbanized, compared with only 17.92 percent in 1978.

You can see where this is going. And we have not even touched on the impact of air quality on health in the PRC, or the fact that urban-related diseases, such as diabetes, are rising at a higher rate than in other industrial economies; or the fact that a rapidly-aging population is transforming the economic viability of the state.

And by late 2019, it became clear that the PRC was unable to continue the pursuit of military equivalence with the US. Minnie Chan, writing in The South China Morning Post on November 28, 2019, noted that the PRC Government had canceled plans for the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) to build two nuclear-power very large aircraft carriers to compare with the capability of US carriers. The PLAN has two carriers afloat with two more abuilding; all conventionally-powered. The reasons for the cancelations of the prestige super-carrier program were cited as “technical challenges and high costs”.

The PRC has significant technologies which had briefly leapfrogged the US, particularly in the areas of hypersonic weapons and space, but belatedly a more resilient US economy was beginning to redress the years of neglect by all US presidents between Pres. Ronald Reagan (1981-89) and Pres. Donald Trump (2017- ). The US was slowly beginning to compensate for the sense of smugness and hubris which pervaded its global thinking after the end of the Cold War in 1990.

But the US had, along with most European powers, subcontracted most of its manufacturing to the PRC in the post-Cold War era, and the COVID-19 epidemic — and the US-PRC “trade war” which immediately preceded it (and which was likely to resume significantly in late 2020) — saw the extent of global dependence on mainland China factories. Beijing was counting on this dependence to restart its economic push in the second quarter of 2020.

But will that manufacturing/export revival be sufficient to restart the PRC economy, which was essentially already hollowed out?

And was the US (and Western) dependence on the PRC manufacturing sector likely to be the same as pre-COVID-19? Unlikely, given the reality that global demand would have declined substantially for at least the remainder of 2020 because of the economic impact of the crisis, and because a number of efforts to restore domestic manufacturing of key products had already begun in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and the like.

Moreover, the weakness of the PRC position, economically, seems to be borne out by the understanding that it had made dramatic cuts in the first quarter of 2020 to its investment in its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) global supply chain. BRI had, in its origins, been conceived merely as a material and transactional form of maoist globalist ideology; a way to bind foreign states to the PRC as “tributary” states and to provide the PRC with its resource needs and markets. But most of the BRI contracts and loans to foreign states had not been calculated on a realistic market basis.

Reports from Beijing indicated that funding for BRI projects had dropped in early 2020 by some 80 percent over the same period a year earlier. But some of these cuts were already well underway by the time the COVID-19 crisis struck.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper, The South China Morning Post, reported on October 10, 2019, that investment in BRI had begun to drop in 2018. It noted: "The value of new projects across 61 countries fell 13 percent to US$126-billion in 2018 [compared with the previous year], with the figure falling further in 2019." In fact, it said that investment had fallen a further 6.7 percent in the seven months leading up to August 2019, and existing contracts were reduced by 4.2 percent in the first eight months of 2019.

The Post article continued: “[I]n the first half of 2019, China’s investment and construction activity around the world plunged by over 50 percent compared to the first half of 2018, while new projects under the belt and road plan dropped sharply, according to a report published in July by Derek Scissors, resident scholar at the China Global Investment Tracker from the American Enterprise Institute. Scissors said Chinese SOEs were still moving car and steel capacity overseas and building new motorways and cement plants in developing economies, but that is now “on a smaller scale” compared to the 2016 investment peak.”

The cutbacks were not only caused by Beijing. By late 2019 and early 2020, a significant number of major programs in the BRI which had received commitments from foreign countries were canceled or scaled-back. These were particularly evident in Pakistan (which has a major strategic need to depend on Beijing), Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sierra Leone. The arrival of the new Government in Ethiopia in April 2018 had already seen that country sour on involvement with new BRI projects.

To a degree, all this decline in the PRC’s economic reach was likely to see the PRC attempt to regain global market share by dumping of goods onto the global marketplace in a bid to ensure that nationalistically-oriented commitments in the US, Europe, Australia, and the like did not attempt to rebuild their own manufacturing sectors. So the response by client states to PRC attempts to recapture markets and prevent the rise of national or sovereign independence would be a measure as to how much Western leaders learned from the crisis period of early 2020.

For this reason, strategically, it was critical for the Communist Party of China (CPC) to ensure that US Pres. Donald Trump was not re-elected to the US Presidency on November 3, 2020, and that the Democratic Party in the US would strengthen its position in the US Congress. As a result, the CPC’s information dominance warfare against the US was geared specifically toward the downfall of Pres. Trump, and in this it sought to enlist the support of the anti-Trump sections of the US polity. There were clearly some elements of the US political community which were prepared to align with Beijing — albeit not overtly — in order to ensure the removal of Donald Trump and the ascendance of Democratic Party presumed candidate Joe Biden.

So the US elections would become the next major breakpoint in the now overt US-PRC war.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 00:00

Facial Recognition Companies Profit From COVID-19 By Adding Thermal Imaging

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Facial Recognition Companies Profit From COVID-19 By Adding Thermal Imaging

Via MassPrivateI blog,

The biometrics industry has never been known to miss an opportunity to make a profit. Especially when it comes at the expense of everyone's privacy.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, facial recognition companies have been hard at work creating a new sales pitch that will allow them to maximize their profits

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Across the globe, facial recognition companies are hard at work trying to convince politicians, law enforcement and the public that thermal imaging cameras will help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Forbes.com is all too eager to jump on the thermal imaging bandwagon, claiming that Athena Security's facial recognition/thermal imaging software can scan 1000 people per hour.

“With Covid-19, you see the problem at airports today,” Athena Security CEO Lisa Falzone explains. “Passengers are waiting in lines to manually take their temperatures, which slows traffic down. With our technology, we can analyze 1000 people per hour.”

In fact, Athena Security has gone so far as to combine fever detection, facial recognition and gun detection into an all-in-one screening system.

"Our Fever Detection COVID19 Screening System is now a part of our platform along with our gun detection system which connects directly to your current security camera system to deliver fast, accurate threat detection – including guns, knives, and aggressive action. Our system can also alert you to falls, accidents, and unwelcome visitors."

As Forbes.com points out, what makes Athena's software so unique is their ability to send out real-time alerts to authorities.

"What’s different about Athena’s system, explains Falzone, is its ability to send out immediate alerts to the appropriate parties, who can then make an informed decision on how to act."

The scariest thing about the proliferation of facial recognition/thermal imaging cameras is it gives law enforcement near god-like powers to identify and quarantine anyone they choose.

Real-time facial recognition being offered to universities and hospitals for free

The biometrics industry has put a new spin on marketing by offering universities and hospitals free real-time facial recognition.

A recent Jumio press release revealed that they are donating their facial recognition identity verification services to U.S. and U.K. hospitals and universities.

"Starting today, Jumio will provide free identity verification services through our AI-powered, fully automated solution, Jumio Go, to any qualifying organization directly involved in helping with COVID-19 relief including (but not limited to): Hospitals and Universities. This free offer is powered by Jumio Go, our real-time, fully automated identity verification solution."

DroneUp suggests that law enforcement could use thermal imaging drones as an excuse to monitor people for COVID-19.

"Assurance is key in uncertain times. That is why DroneUp is functioning in conjunction with FAA regulatory precautions as we collaborate with state and local officials to ensure safety for all. We strongly encourage our fellow drone operators to also become keenly aware of the protocol and regulations as the pandemic evolves."

That same scenario is being played out across the country, with more than 1,500 police departments using drones to monitor the public. In Michigan, the Hillsdale Sheriff's Office recently purchased a DJI Matrice 210 drone equipped with thermal imaging.

Three police departments in particular have taken drone surveillance to a whole new level.

The Owensboro Police Department in Kentucky has created a 10-member thermal imaging drone surveillance team.

"The Owensboro Police Department recently created a 10-member Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team who were trained and certified to fly the department’s $2,300 drone inside city limits."

In Texas, the Public Safety Unmanned Response Team has partnered with the Airborne Incident Response Team to help expand police drone surveillance.

"The objective is to create a robust network of drone responders and geographic information systems experts capable of rendering direct assistance and location intelligence during complex emergencies, rapidly expanding incidents, and major disasters. Increased communication and cooperation are essential to the successful deployment of drones and other unmanned systems in support of public safety operations,” said Travis Calendine, chairperson of the Public Safety Unmanned Response Team North Texas.

The Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), arguably the most famous drone surveillance police department in the country, is creating a 52 square mile drone surveillance zone.

"The CVPD can proactively cover about 17 of the 52 square miles of our city with drones launched from two sites. Our goal this year is to add launch sites to provide 100% aerial support coverage during daylight hours 7 days a week by the end of the year," Vern Sallee, patrol operations captain said. 

The worldwide fear of the cornavirus is so widespread that MIT, Harvard and The Mayo Clinic have designed a new COVID-19 warning app called "Private Kit."

credit: Private Kit

As Fast Company explains, Private Kit will allegedly alert a user when someone infected with the COVID-19 virus is close.  Maybe they could use this app to alert them when a "Walking Dead" zombie is close by?

"Researchers just released an app in beta that alerts people when they come into contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19, potentially reducing the virus’s spread if the app is downloaded by a large chunk of the population."

Of course there is a catch to using Private Kit: users will lose their privacy.

"After you download the app and consent to sharing your location (which is necessary in order for the app to work), the app starts tracking you. Should you cross paths with someone who’s been diagnosed with the coronavirus who also has the app, you’ll receive a notification telling you when and for how long."

Facial recognition companies like Veriff show how little they care about everyone's privacy by offering universities and health care providers 1 million free identity verification's.

"Potential beneficiaries of free verification's range from universities who need to verify people taking exams to marketplaces that have volunteers who help people in need and to registries that could tackle fake accounts and set up reliable databases about people in quarantine. But also, digital health care service providers, organizations fighting fake news and beyond."

If corporations, politicians and law enforcement can convince an apathetic public that facial recognition, thermal imaging and gun detection cameras can keep us safe, then our privacy will vanish before COVID-19 runs its course.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 18:40

"I Found The Source Of COVID-19..."

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"I Found The Source Of COVID-19..."

"After living and working in China for over 10 years and speaking fluent Chinese, you get to know a society pretty well... and let me tell you this - if you're applauding or admiring the political leadership of China, you're all deluded beyond belief."

That is how "laowhy86" begins this succinct  video exploring the 'facts

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' - not conspiracies - behind the source of the coronavirus that is ravaging the earth.

"China doesn't operate like 'your' country," he warns, "the Chinese government is a face- and greed-driven government that relies on lies and bullying to maintain leadership."

Furthermore, he notes, the Chinese government layers are "broken and fragile" and so it didn't surprise him when he was able to follow breadcrumbs - as begun by our inquisition about the roles that certain individuals played in Wuhan - to discover the "very suspicious" fact that the Wuhan Bio lab had a job opening from November 18, 2019, asking for scientists to come and research the relationship between the coronavirus and bats.

However, after ZeroHedge was permanently suspended from Twitter for daring to suggest anything but the official narrative handed down, laowhy86 notes that another job opening appeared on December 24th (remember this is before any news broke of the virus publicly), which basically says 'we've discovered a new and terrible virus and would like to recruit people to come deal with it'...

So, he decided to dig a little bit more into the staff... and that's where it gets interesting... as he discovers silenced scientists, disappeared doctors, and constant propaganda...

"...it's quite clear that the Chinese government needs to close its mouth and acknowledge that this virus did in fact come from Wuhan, Hubei, China."

As he concludes,

"I did not get into any conspiracy theories, I'm not talking about bioweapons or biolabs; this is all public information on the Chinese internet published by researchers, scientists, and doctors."

"Despite the CCP's all-powerful ability to hide everything it can, the truth usually finds its way out - the Chinese government should cover their tracks better next time if they're going to blame this on Italy or the US or whatever is convenient to your narrative."

"...the CCP's incompetence and its understanding of the danger of the virus on a pure scientific level - and then going on to silence those who wanted to warn the public... and letting the virus spread for months... is the reason the Chinese government must be held accountable!"

Watch the full breakdown below:

What is really fascinating, however, is that while this thread was dismissed and censored as utter nonsense just two months ago (and got many banned for even daring to mention it), none other than David Ignatius, The Washington Post's favorite establishment columnist, is now questioning China's narrative and raising his own doubts as to the origin of the virus, writing that ...as China dished wild, irresponsible allegations of its own.

On March 12, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao charged in a tweet: “It might be [the] US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”

He retweeted an article that claimed, without evidence, that U.S. troops might have spread the virus when they attended the World Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019.

A competing theory has been gathering momentum - of an accidental lab release of bat coronavirus...

Less than 300 yards from the seafood market is the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from that facility and the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology have posted articles about collecting bat coronaviruses from around China, for study to prevent future illness. Did one of those samples leak, or was hazardous waste deposited in a place where it could spread?

Richard Ebright, a Rutgers microbiologist and biosafety expert, told me in an email that “the first human infection could have occurred as a natural accident,” with the virus passing from bat to human, possibly through another animal. But Ebright cautioned that it “also could have occurred as a laboratory accident, with, for example, an accidental infection of a laboratory worker.” He noted that bat coronaviruses were studied in Wuhan at Biosafety Level 2, “which provides only minimal protection,” compared with the top BSL-4.

Ebright described a December video from the Wuhan CDC that shows staffers “collecting bat coronaviruses with inadequate [personal protective equipment] and unsafe operational practices.” Separately, I reviewed two Chinese articles, from 2017 and 2019, describing the heroics of Wuhan CDC researcher Tian Junhua, who while capturing bats in a cave “forgot to take protective measures” so that “bat urine dripped from the top of his head like raindrops.”

Ignatius unapologetically admits that what's increasingly clear is that the initial “origin story” - that the virus was spread by people who ate contaminated animals at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan - is shaky.

"Shaky" indeed, David!


Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 19:00

AOC Demands COVID-19 "Reparations" For Black+Brown People

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AOC Demands COVID-19 "Reparations" For Black+Brown People

Update (1615ET): AOC is making further headlines as a NYPost report exposes her lavish "locked-down" lifestyle:

“While Queens and The Bronx have lines down the block at hospitals and grocery stores, AOC is holed up at a brand new luxury apartment where she shops at Whole Foods in her lobby,” Democratic primary opponent Mi

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chelle Caruso-Cabrera said.

“That’s shameful. No wonder voters think that she is out of touch. She has a golf-simulator and infinity pool and Peloton Cycle room as well as other luxuries while families in the Bronx and Queens are worried about how long the lines are at the grocery store and where they are going to get their next paycheck. AOC isn’t even here to see their desperation and their struggle to survive with her own eyes,” the challenger said.

As Kyle Bass tweeted after the report: MCC is a friend and a great Democrat who should rep the Bronx in Congress.

*  *  *

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for coronavirus “reparations” for black and brown people, claiming that “environmental racism” is an “underlying health condition.”

Yes, really.

“COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” tweeted the Democrat lawmaker. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.

AOC provided no source to substantiate the claim that COVID-19 deaths were spiking in black or brown communities (coronavirus deaths would naturally be higher in any densely populated area), nor did she explain how the environment can be racist.

One of her supporters responded to the tweet by suggesting there was some kind of conspiracy amongst store owners in black areas not to enforce social distancing properly.

However, another respondent suggested that black and brown people were deliberately flouting social distancing rules and putting themselves at greater risk.

Another individual suggested that black bodies “work differently” and that this was also the fault of white supremacy.

Ocasio-Cortez previously waded into the coronavirus debate by demanding the FDA relax rules on blood donation, allowing homosexuals to donate blood despite a greater risk of infection. The rule was subsequently relaxed.

*  *  *

My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:15

How We'll Beat COVID-19: "Everyone Should Wear A Mask!"

zerohedge News well beat covid-19 everyone should wear mask All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
How We'll Beat COVID-19: "Everyone Should Wear A Mask!"

Via PeakProsperity.com,

So many of you asked us to create a short educational clip for why masks are so important, so that you can get others onboard this movement.

That was a GREAT idea!

Because the most effective single step each of us can take right now to beat covid-19 is to start wearing a mask.

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trong>It’s cheap. It’s easy. And if we all do it, it will give us a HUGE advantage in the fight against this pandemic.

You don’t need a fancy mask. A simple DIY version will suffice.

Wearing one does the following:

  1. greatly reduces the particles a sick person can spread

  2. prevents you from touching your mouth and nose, by far the most common way we can get infected

  3. substantially increases your odds of having a mild case, should you get infected

If we all wear masks: I protect you, and you protect me. It just makes so much sense.

So you asked; and we’ve answered by creating this short, shareable video:

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 10:50
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COVID-19 Poses A Greater Threat To Iran's Ayatollahs Than US Sanctions Do

zerohedge News covid-19 poses greater threat irans ayatollahs than sanctions All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
COVID-19 Poses A Greater Threat To Iran's Ayatollahs Than US Sanctions Do

Authored by Con Coughlin via The Gatestone Institute,

The Iranian regime's disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic could ultimately pose a greater threat to the survival of the ayatollahs than the impact of Washington's uncompromising sanctions regime.

Up until the coronavirus outbreak, the main

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challenge facing the clerical regime was the devastating impact the Trump administration's hard-hitting sanctions were having on the Iranian economy.

With the economy shrinking at the rate of 10 percent a year, and unemployment hovering around the 20 percent mark, the regime was under increasing pressure from anti-government protesters angry at the regime's mishandling of the economy.

Opposition groups claimed that more than 600 protesters were killed as regime hardliners tried to crush opposition to the regime.

Now the anger of ordinary Iranians at the regime's economic mismanagement has been replaced by outrage at the clerics' attempts to conceal the true extent of Iran's coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to all of the country's 31 provinces.

In its first public reference to the outbreak on February 19, the regime told people not to worry about the virus. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Iran's "enemies" of exaggerating the threat.

A week later, as the number of cases and deaths surged, President Hassan Rouhani echoed the Supreme Leader's words and warned against the "conspiracies and fear-mongering of our enemies".

He said these were designed to bring the country to a standstill and urged Iranians to continue their everyday lives. More recently, state-controlled Iranian television channels have claimed the coronavirus could be a US-manufactured "bio-weapon", with the Supreme Leader tweeting about a "biological attack".

Consequently, as Iran's ruling elite have been in a state of denial about the scale of the outbreak, the epidemic has spread to the extent that Iran is currently suffering from the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East. The latest official death toll by Iran's health ministry claims there had been 2,898 fatalities at the end of March, with more than 44,000 confirmed cases.

Other reports say the death toll could be much higher, and claim 4,762 people had died as of March 31.

The Iranian regime's failure to grasp the significance of the outbreak in its own country has led 16 other countries in the region to claim that their own outbreaks originated in Iran. These include Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates.

The scale of the coronavirus crisis in Iran has resulted in increased tensions between the hardline supporters of Ayatollah Khamenei and the government of President Rouhani.

While the hardliners have flatly rejected offers of assistance from Washington to combat the outbreak, Mr Rouhani has adopted a more pragmatic approach which has resulted in Tehran receiving its first shipments of humanitarian aid from Britain, Germany and France -- the so-called E3, which are also the European signatories to the controversial nuclear deal with Iran.

The European aid package, which is said to be worth $548,000, is the first transaction conducted under a trade mechanism known as the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges, or Instex, which has been set up by the Europeans to enable them to barter humanitarian goods and food with Tehran after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal

Britain, Germany and France said last month they had offered a 5 million-euro ($5.5 million) package to Iran to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, and are also planning to send medical material, including equipment for laboratory tests, protective body suits and gloves.

Tehran would be well-advised, though, not to regard the aid delivery as raising the prospect of the sanctions being eased. The new trading arrangements set up by Europe have been designed not to breach the Trump administration's policy of applying "maximum pressure" against Iran, so that Instex can only be used for the delivery of humanitarian aid and food.

This means that, while the aid delivery might help to fight the coronavirus pandemic, it will do little to alleviate the pressure on Iran's incompetent, and increasingly unpopular, leadership.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 05:00

"Who Are These Parents?" - As COVID-19 Cases Soar, America's Teenaged 'Covidiots' Still Aren't Obeying Quarantine Orders

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"Who Are These Parents?" - As COVID-19 Cases Soar, America's Teenaged 'Covidiots' Still Aren't Obeying Quarantine Orders

Looking back, the fact that most Americans went about their daily lives as if nothing was happening for most of February - heeding the official advice of mayors including NYC's Bill de Blasio and others - seems almost unconscionable. All the while, COVID-19 was spreading, unseen, among communities in suburban Seattle, and in NYC and the suburba

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n areas surrounding the city.

And yet, even after colleges around the country cancelled classes or converted to all-digital learning, hundreds of thousands of "Covidiot" teenagers and early twentysomethings were still hell-bent on capitalizing on cheap flights and enjoying the extended spring break of their dreams, public welfare be damned.

Many of these selfishly ignorant teenagers helped spread the virus around the country, as studies have now shown. But sadly, the ignorance of American teenagers - and the at-times depressing impotence of parents struggling to 'civilize' them - apparently knows no bounds. Because the Washington Post's 'society' section just ran a story about parents trying to cope with teenagers who are almost pathologically incapable of staying at home and doing nothing.

The reporter told the story of one suburban Virginia mom with an undisclosed medical condition that has left her immunocompromised. Despite this, her 18-year-old son insists on going out and meeting up with "his boys" - fellow high-school-senior-age teenagers who have built a fort in the nearby woods where they go to violate the newfound strictures of society.

For two weeks now, since Loudoun County closed its schools March 12, Julian has been building a fort near the Potomac River with “my boys,” he says, about two dozen seniors who show up randomly, bringing free pallets of wood they’ve spotted on Craigslist and building supplies from Home Depot. Rather than socially distancing, they’ve hammered away for hours before grilling hot dogs and fish they catch in a nearby pond and huddling together “to chill."

Julian arrived first to the clearing Thursday and offered a tour of the fort, which rose from the wooded landscape like a hermit’s dream with its frame of poles set in quick cement, covered by a blue tarp to keep out the rain. In recent days, the crowd had been dwindling as news of the coronavirus contagion grew more alarming and parents began putting their collective feet down.

Many teens in the Washington region and across the country are gradually moving past anger and depression to acceptance, at least for the time being, as they grieve the social losses that come with self-quarantining. But Julian — his mother wanted his last name withheld to protect his privacy — is stuck in denial.

His mother fights back with an endless barrage of "sticky note" reminders encouraging her son to wash his hands for more than 20 seconds and to take other steps to protect the family from being sickened by the careless actions of their ungrateful teenage child.

Julian knows he is supposed to keep his distance from his mother, who takes a medication that compromises her immune system. He calls her concerns “100 percent valid,” and said “it freaked me out” when she recently had a small cold. Even so, he sheepishly tries to duck into her space.

“Staying six feet apart from my mom is hard,” Julian says. “I like to go up and hug her all the time."

As for Elisa’s written reminders, “As soon as I walk in, I get hit in the face with a sticky note,” Julian says. “You can’t grab something in the kitchen without a sticky note in your face."

He seems more amused than annoyed; again, he understands. Still, “it’s hard to get in the habit of washing my hands literally after everything I touch,” he says.

No such rules apply at “Coronavirus Outpost,” the name he has given his communal fort in the woods.

Maybe these kids will remember the coronavirus as their big struggle, their "World War II" as it were. Though, given the tendency to accept and embellish unpleasant experiences into "traumas", we imagine that American teens will use this as one more excuse why the government owes them every handout imaginable, from paying off their student loans to covering health-care costs for life.

One mom wondered why some parents were still allowing kids to have group sleepovers and other social events when the governor had expressly forbade gatherings of more than 5.

Kelly Davis was willing to take a hit when her 14-year-old daughter, Victoria, begged to go to a sleepover at a friend’s house. Victoria, a competitive gymnast and straight-A student who Davis calls “the love of my life,” pled with her mother. “Why can’t I go?” she demanded, as her friends watched raptly on FaceTime.

“First, I made her get off FaceTime,” recounted Davis, 52, a single mom and special education teacher in Elkhart, Ind. “I said, ‘No,Victoria.’ I really don’t care what other parents are doing,” She pulled the “grandmother card,” because Davis’s 84-year-old mother lives with them.

Still, Davis finds herself resenting other parents. After the sleepover smackdown, another friend invited Victoria to a birthday party.

“Who are these parents?” she asked. “... It’s hard when other parents aren’t doing the right thing. It makes me look like the mean mom."

Kim Baxter was able to forge alliances with other parents so her 17-year-old daughter, Charlotte, a senior at Yorktown High in Arlington, could spend time with friends during the pandemic. Outside, of course, and the requisite six feet apart.

It did not go well.

Charlotte unwittingly texted her mother a photo while the foursome were out hiking. “They weren’t keeping any kind of distance,” Baxter, a 51-year-old attorney, said ruefully.

She later declined on Charlotte’s behalf when the mother of her daughter’s boyfriend and two other parents jointly approved a group camping trip. “The boys are Eagle Scouts and so that wasn’t my concern,” she said. “It was just the close proximity of what they were doing."

Charlotte “had a moment,” then that moment passed. Now Charlotte and her boyfriend are allowed to hang out at each others’ houses.

"I’ve met his mom, and we’ve been texting,” Baxter said. "I think we both kind of agreed that these two are pretty tight and it would probably be unhealthy to separate them."

These aren't the first reports of American teenagers not taking the quarantine seriously. Oddly, the young's seeming unwillingness to accept that they truly are vulnerable has led to them catching the disease in larger numbers since they're more likely to recklessly ignore quarantine advice.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 21:05

Here's what Europeans are buying amid the COVID-19 lockdown – aside from heaps of pasta and toilet paper

logicfish Business heres what europeans buying amid covid-19 lockdown aside from heaps pasta toilet paper All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Clue: Home working might have played a bit part, even in return of the desktop

The rush to work from home as COVID-19 grips Europe has led to bumper sales of related tech for distributors, official stats confirm.…


German Infectologist Decimates COVID-19 Doomsday Cult In Open Letter To Merkel

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German Infectologist Decimates COVID-19 Doomsday Cult In Open Letter To Merkel

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, released a now-viral video in which he calmly explained why nationwide lockdowns are “collective suicide”.

Now he has written an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel and it is fantastic...

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Via Anti-Empire.com,

A medical expert with integrity asks the German Chancellor five devastating questions about her mindless coronavirus lockdown...

Open Letter

Dear Chancellor,

As Emeritus of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz and longtime director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, I feel obliged to critically question the far-reaching restrictions on public life that we are currently taking on ourselves in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

It is expressly not my intention to play down the dangers of the virus or to spread a political message. However, I feel it is my duty to make a scientific contribution to putting the current data and facts into perspective – and, in addition, to ask questions that are in danger of being lost in the heated debate.

The reason for my concern lies above all in the truly unforeseeable socio-economic consequences of the drastic containment measures which are currently being applied in large parts of Europe and which are also already being practiced on a large scale in Germany.

My wish is to discuss critically – and with the necessary foresight – the advantages and disadvantages of restricting public life and the resulting long-term effects.

To this end, I am confronted with five questions which have not been answered sufficiently so far, but which are indispensable for a balanced analysis.

I would like to ask you to comment quickly and, at the same time, appeal to the Federal Government to develop strategies that effectively protect risk groups without restricting public life across the board and sow the seeds for an even more intensive polarization of society than is already taking place.

With the utmost respect,

Prof. em. Dr. med. Sucharit Bhakdi

*  *  *

1. Statistics

In infectiology – founded by Robert Koch himself – a traditional distinction is made between infection and disease. An illness requires a clinical manifestation. Therefore, only patients with symptoms such as fever or cough should be included in the statistics as new cases.

In other words, a new infection – as measured by the COVID-19 test – does not necessarily mean that we are dealing with a newly ill patient who needs a hospital bed. However, it is currently assumed that five percent of all infected people become seriously ill and require ventilation. Projections based on this estimate suggest that the healthcare system could be overburdened.

My question:

Did the projections make a distinction between symptom-free infected people and actual, sick patients – i.e. people who develop symptoms.

2. Dangerousness

A number of coronaviruses have been circulating for a long time – largely unnoticed by the media.  If it should turn out that the COVID-19 virus should not be ascribed a significantly higher risk potential than the already circulating corona viruses, all countermeasures would obviously become unnecessary.

The internationally recognized International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents will soon publish a paper that addresses exactly this question. Preliminary results of the study can already be seen today and lead to the conclusion that the new virus is NOT different from traditional corona viruses in terms of dangerousness. The authors express this in the title of their paper „SARS-CoV-2: Fear versus Data“.

My question:

How does the current workload of intensive care units with patients with diagnosed COVID-19 compare to other coronavirus infections, and to what extent will this data be taken into account in further decision-making by the federal government? In addition: Has the above study been taken into account in the planning so far?  Here too, of course, „diagnosed“ means that the virus plays a decisive role in the patient’s state of illness, and not that previous illnesses play a greater role.

3. Dissemination

According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, not even the much-cited Robert Koch Institute knows exactly how much is tested for COVID-19. It is a fact, however, that a rapid increase in the number of cases has recently been observed in Germany as the volume of tests increases.

It is therefore reasonable to suspect that the virus has already spread unnoticed in the healthy population. This would have two consequences: firstly, it would mean that the official death rate – on 26 March 2020, for example, there were 206 deaths from around 37,300 infections, or 0.55 percent – is too high; and secondly, it would mean that it would hardly be possible to prevent the virus from spreading in the healthy population.

My question:

Has there already been a random sample of the healthy general population to validate the real spread of the virus, or is this planned in the near future?

4. Mortality

The fear of a rise in the death rate in Germany (currently 0.55 percent) is currently the subject of particularly intense media attention. Many people are worried that it could shoot up like in Italy (10 percent) and Spain (7 percent) if action is not taken in time.

At the same time, the mistake is being made worldwide to report virus-related deaths as soon as it is established that the virus was present at the time of death – regardless of other factors. This violates a basic principle of infectiology: only when it is certain that an agent has played a significant role in the disease or death may a diagnosis be made. The Association of the Scientific Medical Societies of Germany expressly writes in its guidelines: „In addition to the cause of death, a causal chain must be stated, with the corresponding underlying disease in third place on the death certificate. Occasionally, four-linked causal chains must also be stated.“

At present there is no official information on whether, at least in retrospect, more critical analyses of medical records have been undertaken to determine how many deaths were actually caused by the virus.

My question:

Has Germany simply followed this trend of a COVID-19 general suspicion? And: is it intended to continue this categorisation uncritically as in other countries? How, then, is a distinction to be made between genuine corona-related deaths and accidental virus presence at the time of death?

5. Comparability

The appalling situation in Italy is repeatedly used as a reference scenario. However, the true role of the virus in that country is completely unclear for many reasons – not only because points 3 and 4 above also apply here, but also because exceptional external factors exist which make these regions particularly vulnerable.

One of these factors is the increased air pollution in the north of Italy. According to WHO estimates, this situation, even without the virus, led to over 8,000 additional deaths per year in 2006 in the 13 largest cities in Italy alone. [7] The situation has not changed significantly since then. [8] Finally, it has also been shown that air pollution greatly increases the risk of viral lung diseases in very young and elderly people. [9]

Moreover, 27.4 percent of the particularly vulnerable population in this country live with young people, and in Spain as many as 33.5 percent. In Germany, the figure is only seven percent [10]. In addition, according to Prof. Dr. Reinhard Busse, head of the Department of Management in Health Care at the TU Berlin, Germany is significantly better equipped than Italy in terms of intensive care units – by a factor of about 2.5 [11].

My question:

What efforts are being made to make the population aware of these elementary differences and to make people understand that scenarios like those in Italy or Spain are not realistic here?

*  *  *

This is an unofficial translation; see the original letter in German as a PDF.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 05:00
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Pentagon Orders 100,000 Body Bags As FEMA Braces For Onslaught Of COVID-19 Deaths

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Pentagon Orders 100,000 Body Bags As FEMA Braces For Onslaught Of COVID-19 Deaths

After President Trump's talk of up to 240k coronavirus-related deaths rattled markets on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Wednesday evening that the Pentagon is seeking up to 100,000 body bags for FEMA, lending the federal coronavirus response a real natural-disaster feel.

Per BBG, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested 100,000 body bags, known in the b

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usiness as "Human Remains Pouches", vian an interagency group that directed the request to the Pentagon. The Pentagon is looking into sourcing more bags, but will initially provide 50k from a stockpile of 50,000 HRP they have...probably languishing in some underground bunker in Virginia.

Bloomberg described the anxiety-provoking headline as "a somber counterpoint to the Pentagon’s highly-praised deployment of two hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles to help alleviate pressure on regional hospitals overburdened by the pandemic."

The Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support unit manages the Pentagon’s stockpile of the HRPs, which consist of green nylon, 94-inch by 38-inch body bags that are typically distributed to war zones. The unit has been in talks with a contractor about their production capabilities, but the agency has yet to place an official order.

President Trump said last night that he's preparing for between 100k and 240k deaths, as per the official White House projections, but some of the more alarming projections have called for as many as 1 million deaths, without the 'mitigation' efforts being enacted by millions of Americans, who are working from home, or otherwise staying inside.

FEMA hasn't requested a formal delivery date from the DLA, according to the report, but the agency has purportedly told the contractor that it wants the bags ready ASAP.

A spokesman for FEMA told BBG that the bags are part of the "prudent planning" process for anby potential future needs. The bags specifically apply to any "mortuary contingencies" from US states that might occur.

Earlier this week, the director for the Joint Chiefs laid out the liaison process for working with FEMA, and explained how the JC is working "in close partnership" to make sure all needs are addressed.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 21:05

Is America Able To Handle COVID-19? – Global Prospects Hang On This Question

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Is America Able To Handle COVID-19? – Global Prospects Hang On This Question

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

As the lockdowns across Europe began to bite, the U.S. Establishment began its ‘wobble’. The more elegant amongst élite circles pointed to a dangerous mis-match in timelines: The medical advice has been: ‘lockdown until the virus begins to subside’, but that advice encompassed to

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o, the possibility of Covid-19 returning later in the year in a Phase Two, thus requiring further personal distancing.

Hands shot high in absolute horror amongst some business and Wall Street leaders: Could the U.S. economy sustain such a prospect? Might not a long shutdown inflict permanent damage? Would there even be an economy left – to resurrect – in the wake of ‘peak Coronavirus’?

The mis-match thesis then acquired a third strand: To immediate economic fears standing in contradistinction to longer term medical perspectives was added the third question: Are Americans culturally ‘built’ for lockdown (that is to say, will an individualistic, libertarian-minded – and armed society – acquiesce to being ordered to stay home over a long period)?

Not surprisingly, President Trump – with an advancing Election, and his colours pinned to the mast of sound economic management – hit on the formula that the ‘cure cannot be worse than the disease’: Let’s have the economy open by Easter (12 April – i.e. 15 days hence), he declared.

The issue of the virus is not manufactured, (though there are still many in the U.S., who regard it as an overblown scare), nor is the dilemma of the divergent timelines. Actually – a great deal hangs on how these timelines play out – our global economic and political prospects, no less.

Just about everyone and his dog now claims to have modelled Covid-19. But in truth, we still know very little on which to accurately predict the virus’ course. The ‘data’ is made unreliable: firstly, because not only does the virus have different mutations, but secondly, owing to it acting in two quite different modes: One is mild, or even asymptomatic (the 80%); and the second mode is serious (requiring hospitalisation) – and for a minority of the 20% – deadly.

But consequently, we simply do not know how much of the population is infected, or is still to be infected – precisely owing to its very mildness or, its asymptomatic characteristics amongst the 80 percent-ers. There hasn’t been enough testing – and anyway, given its mild or non-noticeable iteration, many people may have it, but don’t test.

So the data modelling is more ‘art’, than predictive, and therefore introduces economic uncertainty. The damage to the economy is obvious from the first, but the question least considered is the importance of the third strand: Is Trump right when he says that America ‘is not built for lockdown’?

He may be right, in one sense; but if he opts to prioritise a quick opening of the economy over the welfare of the American people, he may face incalculable consequences – should Covid-19 bite him in the backside: Either by mutating (as did the Spanish ‘flu in August 1918); or simply, by beginning a second phase through a resurgence of community infection later in the year.

Plainly, Trump is of the ‘fears are exaggerated’ school of thought, and seems poised to bet his Presidency on it. In this era, viral social media images of hospitals overwhelmed, and of patients fighting to breathe their last, unaided, and lying on the floor, jam-packed in corridors, or in converted gyms – can become politically toxic. The counter- response that the financial system is struggling for oxygen, under lockdown, too, may strike many people as a ‘little lacking’ in common humanity – perhaps?

The dilemma is cruel. And maybe the social timeline ‘strand’ has more substance, than is generally granted? Americans are libertarian in many ways (not least, in their determination to carry arms). This is reflected also, in their deliberate eschewing of a public health programme, and in the purposefully limited support provided to the hourly paid – who are laid off. It is the ethos of individualism, a work ethic and the consequence of a ‘libertarian’ constitution.

The St Louis Chair of the Fed has predicted 30% unemployment and 50% of the economy at standstill by the end of June. Is it sustainable to have these furloughed workers dying in the street, because they cannot afford America’s ‘boutique’ health-service for the wealthy? (we’ve seen videos of people unexpectedly falling down in the street, dying, as passers-by skirt the afflicted victim – from both China and Iran). Such videos would be inflammatory in the U.S.

What happens if ‘lockdown’ were extended, and the unemployed were to attack supermarkets for food they cannot afford; or because the supermarket shelves are empty (this has happened in Europe)? What would videos of the U.S. National Guard look like as they arrive, armed for war, to put down the ‘looters’? What happens if the rioters angry at their plight – and without money – use their right to bear weapons to fight against the National Guardsmen? Can the U.S. national fabric handle such strains? Might it not disintegrate?

Here, the U.S. differs from Europe. America has not, since the Civil War, had to experience the harsh circumstances in hospitals approximating to wartime, on its own soil.

So, is Trump right, then, to prioritise keeping the U.S. economy open? Well, firstly, the notion that bits of the economy can be opened where infection-rates are low, whilst other parts are locked down, seems odd: Covid-19 – we do know – is highly infectious. Those who show no symptoms – whether they are under 50 years, or under 40 years-old – would not preclude them from being silent ‘super-carriers’ of the disease. We have not heard there is a test for anti-bodies, which might signal that an individual enjoys immunity. But unless an area has no infections, putting even one carrier into a workplace, would be sufficient to trigger a localised community infection.

Perhaps then, Trump might be right that anything other than a short (and possibly ineffective) lockdown is not manageable in the U.S.: That it might tear apart an already polarised, armed and inegalitarian, social fabric. There is then, a substantial point here: How far, and for how long, can an U.S. or European society accept a ‘command’ or martial-law administration – before citizens rebel, and head to the beaches for summer? What then?

Is it possible that can Trump may emerge from these events as the ‘saviour of the U.S. economy’? Here, we touch on the key question of the adaptability of élites. Are the U.S. élite capable of true transformation of consciousness as circumstances alter? On the answer to this question will hang the geo-political future. It was the inability of the Soviet elites to give up on their corrupt and privileged status quo that led to the implosion of the USSR in 1987.

We are often told that Americans are great innovators and graspers of opportunity. But today, the U.S. élites are utterly intent on preserving a status quo – as the viability and even the reality of that status quo is being questioned by important insiders. For the élite majority, though, the mind-set is intransigent and adamant. The status quo suits them well. They do not wish to see to see it reformed or changed. They refuse to think differently.

Eventually, the coronavirus will subside; but what will America look like when it does? For the moment, the élites believe that America will look just as it did, in February, before the impact of the pandemic hit U.S. markets. So, we have had the Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan all doing the same thing, over and over again, hoping that the economy will snap-back to ‘normal’. But it isn’t working.

The Fed fears a collapse in credit (with due reason), but ‘normality’ is not returning from the rush of liquidity hosed across credit markets. In the 2008 crisis, the Fed responded with all sorts of easing. This time the Fed is throwing the ‘kitchen sink’ at markets, offering ‘facilities’ for almost every asset class. At the present rate of growth, the Fed balance sheet will be $6 Trillion in days – and reach a total equivalent to almost 50% of the U.S. GDP by June. Another, unimaginable chunk of debt.

The problem is that the Fed’s measures will fail as stimulus – because it is not a problem of demand shortfall, but of supply-shock – as the globe implements ‘shut-down’ in order to slow infection. But, with recession or depression looming, asset prices are collapsing. Bloomberg has noted that core tenets such as what constitutes a safe asset, or the expectation of returns over the next decade, are all being thrown out of the window – as Central Banks strive to avert a global recession: The latter have unleashed a money tsunami, unlike anything seen before, and the fear of inflation is rising, together with a sense that all the old metrics of what constitutes safe investments are gone for good.

Meanwhile the U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion bill to counter the effects of Covid-19. It was well received for a while in the U.S. markets, before they fell again. The bill may help keep a part of the big business status quo alive, for now, but the bottom line is that these spending bills – as Jim Rickards notes – “provide spending but they do not provide stimulus”. And all that spending – like that of the Fed – essentially will be helicopter money: i.e. monetised debt.

The essential dilemma is that the Central Bankers’ Holy Grail – stimulus – depends on consumers, who constitute 70% of the U.S. economy; and on whether they decide consume – and to what extent. And that will depend upon their psychology in the post-Covid-19 era, and not on what the Fed does, or does not, do now.

If consumers get used – during lockdown – to doing without; to economising; they may well decide that increased savings and debt reduction, are the best ways to prepare for straitened times. 83% of U.S. businesses are small or medium sized companies. Some may survive and resume work, but others will not re-open after the lockdown. It will be a different atmosphere: a different economic era.

Of course, the élites want to go ‘back to normal’ as quickly as possible, but the ‘bottom line’ emerging from the Fed’s failure to staunch market paralysis is that that which the élites had thought to be ‘normal’ is proving not to have been normal at all. It is now apparent as having been a financialised bubble – and Covid-19 happens to have been the pin that popped it. This bubble was just the biggest, in a long line of Fed-blown bubbles (NASDAQ, sub-prime mortgages, etc.) – and now, the final ‘everything-bubble’ has burst. There’s nothing now left for the Fed to ‘bubble up’. It’s probably over.

Here’s the larger – global – point. Again, it revolves around psychology: Have these events been the ‘pin’ which also pops some sort of mass psychological bubble (a sealed Cartesian, mental retort)? Will public faith in the status quo crash, along with the financialised ‘everything-bubble’? Will a momentary flash of enlightenment to the house-of-cards reality that Americans had been living, cause them to start seeing their world afresh, and in its raw, hard reality? If so, the world order stands on the cusp of change.

For some time now, a general popular disquiet has been incubating. The question is whether, in the cold post-Covid-19 reality, Americans will begin to cease their acquiescence to – and their co-operation with – the status quo.

This might mean trouble as America and some European states try to manage the pandemic through invoking the necessity of a war-time command-governance. Will people accept such a command system, if they see its principal purpose being the return to a failed status quo ante?

Tyler Durden

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 00:05

The World Is Running Out Of Condoms As Factories Face COVID-19 Lockdown

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The World Is Running Out Of Condoms As Factories Face COVID-19 Lockdown

Authored by Elias Marat via TheMindUnleashed.com,

We’ve all seen the jokes on social media about how nine months from now a new generation will be born that will eventually be dubbed “Coronials” - and once they come of age, “quaranteens.

After all, if we’re stuck working from home or self-isola

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ting along with our partner or significant other, it’s only natural and healthy for us to seek solace through sexual activity - and the increase in baby-making activities can naturally result in a miniature “baby boom.”

But as it turns out, the joke may have some basis after all - especially because a global shortage of condoms could deprive couples staying at home from one of the more popular birth control methods.

Reuters reports that Malaysia’s Karex Bhd, a company that is responsible for producing one out of every five condoms globally, spent over a week without producing a single condom at its three factories after the government imposed a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

This has resulted in a shortfall of 100 million condoms which normally would be marketed worldwide under such brands as Durex, distributed through aid programs like the United Nations Population Fund, and the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).

On Friday, the company was granted permission to resume production under a special exemption for critical industries but with only half of its workforce.

Chief Executive Goh Miah Kiat said:

“It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity.

We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary.

My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”

The news comes as condoms rank among toilet paper and hand sanitizer as one of the most sought-after items during the CoViD-19 crisis, reports Highsnobiety.

Earlier this month, sex product retailer Promescent’s CEO Jeff Abraham confirmed that the company saw surging condom sales all month.

Speaking to Business Wire, the executive said:

“In fact, we’ve seen a 54 percent increase in our online sales since the beginning of the pandemic.

With the tremendous effort put forth by so many government and local organizations, we want to do our part to ensure people are continuing to practice safe sex and have adequate access to birth control in a time of social distancing and self-isolation.”

Condom factories in China, India, and Thailand have also faced disruptions in their operations. Similar problems have also been faced by regional manufacturers of critical protective gear like medical gloves in Malaysia.

A Durex spokesman reassured Reuters that operations would continue as normal, and no supply shortages are anticipated. They added:

“For our consumers, many of whom will be unable to access shops, our Durex online stores remain open for business.”

Goh added that while condom production may face interruptions, the demand for the contraceptive remains stronger than ever. He said:

“The good thing is that the demand for condoms is still very strong because like it or not, it’s still an essential to have.

Given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children. It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty.”

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 20:45

US Reports 500+ Casualties In 'Deadliest Day Yet', Confirms Largest Jump In New COVID-19 Cases: Live Updates

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US Reports 500+ Casualties In 'Deadliest Day Yet', Confirms Largest Jump In New COVID-19 Cases: Live Updates





  • US reports more than 500 deaths for first time

  • US confirms largest one-day case jump

  • Russia reports jump in cases, deaths

  • Maryland, Virginia and DC all locked down

  • Thailand warns it will prosecute all "April Fools Day" coronavirus jokers

  • China plans to annou
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nce "asymptomatic" carriers of the novel coronavirus

  • Dr. Fauci warns he fears virus will return this fall

  • Ford, GE warn 100-day window for producing 50k ventilators doesn't start until April 20

  • Orban takes unilateral power in Hungary





    UK Drug Dealer: People Are "Panic-Buying" Cocaine And Weed To Cope With COVID-19 Lockdown

    zerohedge News drug dealer people panic-buying cocaine weed cope with covid-19 lockdown All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
    UK Drug Dealer: People Are "Panic-Buying" Cocaine And Weed To Cope With COVID-19 Lockdown

    Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

    A top drug dealer in the UK has revealed that people are “panic buying” cocaine and marijuana to help them get through the coronavirus lockdown.

    The drug dealer, who has 20 dealers out on the street and 200 regular customers, told the Guardian,

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    >“People are panicking – the amounts of cannabis they’re buying is ridiculous – so we are just dealing to regulars now.”

    He says that the price of cocaine is set to surge because there are no new shipments coming in from abroad for at least 6 weeks.

    I’m maintaining the same prices I’ve always charged but I’m concerned that, when stock begins to run low, people higher up the chain will charge more or cut the cocaine and decrease its quality,” said the dealer.

    He added that people running out of money due to becoming unemployed as a result of the quarantine remains a primary concern, “but we’ll always have the regular cokeheads who buy most days.”

    Dealers are also offering to take bank transfers from regular customers and post drugs through the letterbox to cut down on potentially spreading the coronavirus infection.

    *  *  *

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    Tyler Durden

    Tue, 03/31/2020 - 05:00

    How "Progressive" Ideology Led To COVID-19 Catastrophe In Spain

    zerohedge News progressive ideology covid-19 catastrophe spain All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
    How "Progressive" Ideology Led To COVID-19 Catastrophe In Spain

    Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute,

    The Spanish government, comprised of a coalition of Socialists and Communists, is facing legal action for alleged negligence in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The government is accused of putting its narrow ideological interests ahead of the safety and wellbeing of the public, and, in so doing,

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    unnecessarily worsening the humanitarian crisis now gripping Spain, currently the second-worst afflicted country in Europe after Italy.

    A class action lawsuit filed on March 19 accuses the Spanish government — highly ideological by any standard, as the Communist coalition partner, Podemos, was founded with seed money from the Venezuelan government — of knowingly endangering public safety by encouraging the public to participate in more than 75 feminist marches, held across Spain on March 8, to mark International Women's Day.

    The nationwide rallies were aimed at protesting the government's perennial bugbear: the alleged patriarchy of Western civilization.

    Hundreds of thousands of people participated in those marches, and several high-profile attendees — including Spain's deputy prime minister, as well as the prime minister's wife and mother, and also the wife of the leader of Podemos — have since tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is unknown how many people were infected by the coronavirus as a result of the rallies.

    The lawsuit, involving more than 5,000 plaintiffs, accuses Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his representatives in Spain's 17 autonomous regions of "prevarication" — a Spanish legal term that means lying and deceiving. The government was allegedly so determined to ensure that the feminist marches took place on March 8 that it deliberately downplayed warnings about the pandemic. These warnings include:

    • September 2019. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an international panel of experts convened by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), warned of a "very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5% of the world's economy.

    • December 31. China alerted WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. The virus was unknown.

    • January 7. China identified the new coronavirus as the cause of a mystery disease in Wuhan.

    • January 21. WHO confirmed human-to-human transmission of the virus.

    • January 29. Spanish pharmaceutical cooperatives warned that pharmacies were running out of masks due to a surge in demand. Sales of masks surged by 3,000% in January compared to the year before.

    • January 30. WHO Director-General declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

    • January 31. The first known case of COVID-19 in Spain was confirmed in La Gomera, Canary Islands, where a German tourist tested positive and was admitted to a local hospital.

    • February 12. Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade fair, which draws more than 100,000 participants from 200 countries, was cancelled due to fears of coronavirus. The financial loss to Barcelona and the city's hospitality industry was estimated to be €500 million ($560 million).

    • February 24. More than 1,000 guests and employees at the Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, Canary Islands, were quarantined after an Italian citizen tested positive for COVID-19.

    • February 27. A 62-year-old man from Seville tested positive for COVID-19. His was the first case of local transmission of the virus in Spain. The man said that he believed he was infected during a banking conference in Malaga, where he sat next to a partner who traveled to the Canary Islands on vacation and had had contact with people from Asia. Doctors said that the diagnosis was of "great importance" because it proved that COVID-19 has been circulating in Spain without detection.

    • March 2. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised European countries to cancel mass gatherings of people to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.

    • March 2. The Spanish Medical Agency sent a letter to pharmaceutical distributors to restrict the marketing of masks and to block their distribution across Spanish pharmacies. The agency's objective, on the advice of the Ministry of Health, was to ensure the supply of masks to hospitals and health centers at a time when the number of confirmed cases was beginning to multiply. The measure blocked sales to Spanish pharmacies, as well as sales abroad.

    • March 3. The regional health ministry in Valencia announced that the first coronavirus fatality in Spain died on February 13. Health authorities did not know he had the virus until 19 days after his death — an indication that Spanish authorities have been slow to understand the outbreak. Since coronavirus cases that end in death last between two and eight weeks, in addition to a 14-day incubation period, it is possible that the man was infected as early as the beginning of January.

    • March 3. Spanish authorities ordered major football and basketball matches to be held behind closed doors with no spectators allowed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    • March 6. The Spanish Ministry of Health advised: "The precautionary principle must prevail. The emergence of a hitherto unknown virus means that precautionary measures must be taken based on the existing scientific knowledge regarding viruses."

    On March 7, despite these warnings, the Spanish government's main point man for the coronavirus, Fernando Simón, claimed in a nationwide press conference that there was no risk of attending the rallies on March 8.

    "If my son asks me if he can go, I will tell him to do whatever he wants," he said.

    The intrepid, Spain-based journalist Matthew Bennett discovered that the Spanish government failed to report new coronavirus cases between March 6 and March 9, apparently in an effort to downplay the danger to the public of attending the rallies.

    On March 9, after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Madrid doubled in one day, the President of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, ordered all schools in the capital to be closed for at least two weeks. The decision by the regional government caught the central government by surprise and effectively forced it to act.

    • March 10. Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa, a Catalan philosophy major with no experience in medicine, said: "Today's situation may be different from yesterday's, it is changing, and this will continue to be so until we overcome this situation."

    • March 11. The Spanish government acknowledged that it knew on March 8, before the feminist rallies took place, that the coronavirus outbreak in Madrid was out of control.

    • March 12. Prime Minister Sánchez, defending himself against criticism that he allowed the marches to go ahead, said that his government was responding to the "dynamic" situation of the coronavirus by "adapting" to the "hourly" recommendations of scientific experts.

    • March 14. The central government announced a nationwide state of emergency that effectively placed 46 million people in lockdown for at least 15 days. All non-essential travel has been prohibited and people are confined to their homes except in cases of emergency or to purchase food or medicine. All schools and universities in the country are closed.

    • March 29. The lockdown, the strictest in all of Europe, was extended until April 11.

    The lawsuit has been forwarded to the Spanish Supreme Court due to the prime minister's immunity.

    Article 404 of the Penal Code establishes a penalty of between nine to 15 years of disqualification for public office for public officials convicted of the crime of prevarication.

    Víctor Valladares, a Madrid-based lawyer who is leading the lawsuit, said:

    "The result of the calls for these demonstrations and their direct approval by government delegations and by the inaction of the central government chaired by the accused, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, could not be more antagonistic to what the EU indicated in its report. Why was not an order issued to prevent any type of mass event?"

    Meanwhile, the Association of Doctors and Medics of Madrid (AMYTS) and the Confederation of Medical Trade Unions (CESM) also filed lawsuits against the government. The complaint demands that the federal and local governments provide hospitals in Madrid with masks, protective glasses and waste containers within 24 hours.

    The Spanish blogger Elentir, who operates the blog Contando Estrelas, a politically astute website that is essential to understanding contemporary Spanish politics, wrote:

    "As we found out, 16 days late, the first death from coronavirus had occurred in Spain on February 13. Faced with the risk that the massive feminist mobilizations on Sunday, March 8 could be cancelled, Fernando Simón commented: 'We have no specific recommendation on the suspension of the rally on March 8.'

    "On March 9, one day after the feminist marches, Health Minister Salvador Illa expressly recommend that all people with chronic diseases or multiple pathologies do not leave their homes except for emergencies.... He said this immediately after the feminist rallies held on March 8.

    "Honestly, it seems to me a joke that the government has waited until today, clearly for political reasons, to make this announcement. The Socialist-Communist government has once again put its political interests above the common good. This gross negligence should lead to resignations."

    Criticism of the Spanish government's handling of the coronavirus crisis has also come from members of the Socialist Party itself. On March 22, Juan Luis Cebrián, a co-founder of the newspaper El País, a notorious mouthpiece of the Socialist Party, wrote:

    "The crocodile tears of so many political leaders who claim that no one could have imagined such a thing such as the coronavirus do not make any sense. There were not only those who imagined it: they foresaw it, and they seriously warned about it. There has undoubtedly been negligence on the part of the various health ministers and their bosses, and in France three doctors have already filed a complaint against the government for this reason. The consequence is that most Western nations today are overwhelmed in their abilities to fight the epidemic. They reacted late and erroneously. Lacking is: hospital beds, medical personnel, respirators and transparency in official information.

    "On February 24, WHO officially declared the probability that we would be faced with a pandemic. Despite this and knowing the magnitude of the threat, which has already been fully realized in several countries, hardly any measures were taken in most of the potential scenarios for the spread of the virus. In the case of Spain, attendance at gigantic demonstrations was encouraged, the holding of massive popular festivals was promoted, urgent funding for research was delayed, the threat was minimized, and even the official still in charge today of the scientific recommendations dared to say between smiles that there was no risk to the population.

    "This is not the time to open a debate on the subject, but it is legitimate to assume that in addition to political responsibilities, citizens... will have the right to demand legal redress if there is guilty negligence."

    Spain is one of the European countries most effected by the virus: As of March 29, more than 80,000 people had been diagnosed with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and more than 6,500 had died as a result. The actual number of people infected may be ten times higher due to the lack of testing of asymptomatic cases. As the pandemic runs its course, Spain is on track soon to overtake Italy as Europe's hardest-hit country.

    Tyler Durden

    Tue, 03/31/2020 - 02:00

    Maersk Crew Hospitalized In First Ever COVID-19 Cases On Board A Container Ship

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    Maersk Crew Hospitalized In First Ever COVID-19 Cases On Board A Container Ship

    Despite one of the the world's largest shipping lines, Maersk, recently suspending all crew changes aboard its container vessels for up to one month in order to shield crew and operations from the coronavirus and keep them “as normal as possible,” this weekend witnessed the first ever confirmed cases aboard a container ship.

    In the past days reports

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    have emerged that an entire crew from the Danish-flagged ship Gjertrud Maers have been tested, with some evacuated and hospitalized in Ningbo, China. A Maersk company spokesman later said in a press statement that “a number of our seafarers” on the ship were suspected for the virus.

    “As per our established protocols, the seafarers were isolated on the vessel when symptoms appeared and we are providing medical treatment based on input from our medical advisers,” the Maersk statement said.

    File image: Getty/Market Watch

    “The vessel was awaiting phasing into our network and currently idle at the quayside in Ningbo, China,” it added. “Extra precaution measures will be taken for crew replacement and sanitations will be implemented.”

    Subsequent reports on Monday via state-run China News Service (CNS) indicate at least five of the crew members have tested positive for Covid-19, after a total of 22 foreign crew members were put in isolation aboard the ship while awaiting testing.

    Initially seven crew members were reported as having "abnormal physical condition" over a week ago. Maersk did not immediately confirm the crew tested positive, however.

    CEO of Maersk Ocean and Logistics, Vincent Clerc, late last week updated global customers and partners as to how the pandemic will impact shipping volume. He confirmed in a statement that necessary drastic actions taken by governments and companies to contain the spread of the virus will result in an economic slowdown. He added that recent interaction and conversations with customers “confirm our expectation of lower volume demand in the coming weeks.”

    Clerc said further, “We are actively preparing our network to match a reduced demand level. We believe that it is our responsibility to rightsize in order to protect our cost position, both to be able to weather these storms but importantly also to ensure that you have a partner who cares for the integrity of your supply chain as we look to lifting the world out of this crisis.”

    Last month the company said it was bracing itself for coronavirus to impact its 2020 earnings hard: 

    Maersk said it expects earnings of around $5.5 billion this year, which is about 5% below what analysts had been predicting.

    ...Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, has warned of a "very weak" start to the year as the coronavirus keeps factories shuttered in China and dents demand for the transport of goods.

    The Danish ship operator said Thursday [Feb.20] that it has canceled more than 50 trips to and from Asia since the Lunar New Year holiday was extended because of the outbreak. Shipping rates are expected to decrease as demand slips, the company said in an earnings report.

    The company's forecast for shipping volume growth of less than 1% is "pretty downbeat," giving it some breathing space if the impact of the coronavirus is worse than expected, said Michael Field, an analyst at Morningstar...

    "We estimate factories in China are operating at 50% to 60% of capacity," CEO Søren Skou said on an earnings call.

    Already countries in the West, often over-reliant on manufacturing in East Asia, are feeling the crunch of limited supplies of shipped goods as port activity dries up on significantly lower volumes. This is especially the case when it comes to vital medical supplies, including items as simple as protective medical gear like gowns, masks, and gloves.

    Tyler Durden

    Tue, 03/31/2020 - 02:45

    COVID-19 Derangement Syndrome: A World Gone Mad

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    COVID-19 Derangement Syndrome: A World Gone Mad

    Authored by Percy Carlton for the Saker Blog,

    The whole world has gone mad with what I call Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome (CDS).

    I define it as an acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in response to the Covid-19 Corona Virus pandemic. The infection is particularly prevalent among the media and the governme

    Read More
    nt officials of the world.

    Human beings fear what they do not understand and that fear causes them to behave in irrational and destructive ways. The current Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect example of that. I don’t need to describe the paranoia and economic destruction to you because you can see it with your own two eyes everywhere you look. Both the media and the world’s governments are fueling the panic – the media with their hysterical 24/7 coverage and the governments with their draconian police state actions.

    I feel like the man in the following cartoon.

    I am doomed to helplessly stand by and watch the entire world commit economic suicide for no good reason. At first glance this may seem like a shocking and callous statement but do not mistake this as support for the view that the government should stand back and let the private sector take care of the problem. I have no problem with a strong authoritarian central government response as long as it is reasonable and wise. The current government response is neither.

    Do Nothing VS Shut Everything Down

    The current debate about what governments should do seems to be limited to two options: Do nothing and let the virus run its course or use authoritarian methods to quarantine and restrict the movement of citizens within and across state and national borders. The former will result in many people unnecessarily dying and the latter will save lives but is already resulting in a catastrophic worldwide economic collapse with repercussions that will last for years. It is very narrow thinking to think that those are the only two options that exist. There is always another way. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a solution to the COVID-19 virus problem that would save lives and not result in a worldwide economic Armageddon? Such a solution exists and I will lay it out for you in this article.

    First let’s define the problem: A highly contagious virus is spreading around the globe and killing people. Governments should be responsible for protecting their citizens so they must take action. But what actions should they take? That is an important question that must be carefully answered, but only after much research and consideration of all options. If we act rashly and arrive at the wrong answer people will die and/or lives will be destroyed by a global economic depression.

    Let’s set aside the fear and hysteria and calmly use the Scientific Method to solve our problem. But I must first make a digression about science.

    Three Kinds of Science

    Did you know there are three kinds of science? Most folks can’t tell the difference between them and are therefore easily misled. The first two are pseudoscience; the third is real science. There is a significant amount of overlap between the first two although they do have enough of the third mixed in to give them the appearance of credibility.

    1) Agenda based science – This type is practiced by people with an agenda. They are blinded by their presuppositions and it results in them twisting, distorting, and sometimes outright lying about their studies, experiments, and data. The people that practice this kind of science are not necessarily evil. They just sincerely but blindly believe something that “just ain’t so.” They think they are helping the world but are instead causing it much harm.

    2) Bought and paid for corporate science – This type is practiced by scientific mercenaries who shamelessly produce studies that support the goals of whoever is paying them. Many of these folks are downright evil in my opinion. Much of what passes as “science” these days is of this type.

    3) Real science – This type of scientist seeks the truth regardless of what it is. If the scientist has a presupposition they will quickly abandon it if their research does not support it. They will tirelessly search for, support and proclaim the truth even if it results in them being ostracized by the scientific community or persecuted by the government.

    The Scientific Method

    Step One – Purpose – State the Problem

    We have already defined our current problem as a virus that is killing people all over the world, but we have not stated our purpose and objectives. Our main purpose and objectives should be to minimize loss of life and damage to the world economy. These objectives are both very important and are not mutually exclusive regardless of what our governments seem to think.

    Step Two – Research – Find Out About the Topic

    I’m not going to spend much time discussing something you can easily research on the internet. There are plenty of articles in scientific journals and on science websites. Here is one example: How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? I suggest you conduct your own independent research instead of getting your information from the hysterical media or an armchair doctor.

    Although there are some important differences between the seasonal flu and Covid-19, there are enough similarities that I believe we can find a solution to the problem by applying general medical principles relating to viruses. The entire world did not shut down for the many local and worldwide viral outbreaks we have had in the past 20 years such as SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS, H5N1 (bird) and H1N1 (swine). There was no need to shut it down for this one.

    We all know about the infection and death rates that vary widely around the world but you may not know why. Italy is pointed to by the alarmists as justification for the police state shutdown of entire states and countries so let’s take a closer look at it.

    The single largest factor that determines the mortality rate is the health of the person at the time they contract the virus. The symptoms are mild for the vast majority of healthy people that become infected. It is well established that the people with the greatest risk of death are those with a weakened or compromised immune system. The death rate increases exponentially with age precisely because of the decrease in immune function that accompanies the aging process. According to an Italian Government Study 99% of their Covid-19 fatalities were already sick and half were diagnosed with 3 or more diseases.

    Here are some excerpts from a Bloomberg article on the study:

    The median age of the infected is 63 but most of those who die are older. The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions.

    “While data released Tuesday point to a slowdown in the increase of cases, with a 12.6% rise, a separate study shows Italy could be underestimating the real number of cases by testing only patients presenting symptoms.”

    “According to the GIMBE Foundation, about 100,000 Italians have contracted the virus, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported. That would bring back the country’s death rate closer to the global average of about 2%.”

    A huge factor that affects transmission rates is cultural customs. Getting the locals to alter their cultural customs at funerals is one of the four practices that flattened the Ebola epidemic curve in West Africa in 2013-2016. Italy has an aging population that has a cultural tradition of cheek kissing. Is it a great mystery why their death rate is so high?

    It is probable that the 2-3% global average of the death rate is wildly over inflated due a high false negative rate for the current tests. And what about the many thousands or maybe even millions of people who may have contracted the virus and were not tested because the symptoms were so mild? Several weeks ago a strange virus ran through my family and a number of my co-workers. We felt horrible for a few days but recovered quickly. My daughter got the worst symptoms but tested negative for the flu. How do we know that it was not Covid-19 or another corona virus? Some of the alarmists such as Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson are now beginning to back off of their doom and gloom predictions. The phrase “Lies, damned lies and statistics” applies here. The infection rate and death percentage numbers are unreliable. The only statistic that is close to accurate is the number of deaths. Let’s focus our efforts on reducing that number.

    Sun Tzu, Firefighters, Preppers, and Floridians

    Let’s continue to gather information by getting some advice from Sun Tzu, firefighters, preppers, and Floridians. After that I will tie it all together for you so that it will make sense.

    Sun Tzu

    Sun Tzu famously said in The Art of War “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    The world’s governments are fighting a battle against an “enemy” (the Covid-19 virus) they do not understand. Neither do they understand “themselves,” which in this case I will consider to be the human body. This is a battle they will not win. They rushed into it blindly with little knowledge and preparation and the results so far are not pretty. The current battle should be over in a few months but the enemy will likely be back next year and/or the year after that. Will we know our enemy and know ourselves better before the next battle? I sincerely hope so.

    But is treating the Covid-19 virus like an enemy that needs to be destroyed at all costs the right approach?

    War on Covid-19

    The USA has been at war in one form or another since its inception. There have been countless shooting wars but there has also been The War On Drugs, The War On Cancer, The War On Poverty, The War On Terrorism, The War On Global Warming, etc. Have any of these wars resulted in the eradication of the object on which the war was declared? No. All of these “wars” are foolish and misguided attempts at eradicating something that you cannot eradicate. They will always be with us. We have wasted untold trillions of dollars on these wars and have very little to show for it. The results of the current “War On Covid-19” will not be much different. We need to take a different approach and stop blindly declaring war on something we do not understand.

    Trump and other politicians are using the language of war when speaking about their country’s efforts to “fight” Covid-19. That should make us very wary. When the USA declares war on anything we can expect several things to happen:

    • We will go deeper in debt

    • Vast amount of money will be wasted and given away to corrupt corporations

    • The US Constitution will be further trampled and more rights and freedoms will be taken away

    • The people will suffer

    • We will lose the war


    I am a firefighter/paramedic for a large city in the State of Florida in the USA. Every time something bad happens firefighters are called to mitigate the situation. Heart attacks, Covid-19 patients, car wrecks, and hazardous material leaks/spills are among the situations we respond to, but for this example we will use fire. Firefighters do not treat fire as the enemy. We do not declare war on it and try to stamp out every single flame in our jurisdiction. We understand it to be a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be very destructive and deadly if it is allowed to grow out of control. We do not fear fire because we know it well and we know ourselves well. We do have a healthy respect for it because we frequently see the death and destruction it can cause. When the alarm sounds we calmly but aggressively go about mitigating the fire before it grows out of control and destroys both lives and property. We are well trained and well prepared with the best equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) money can buy. We have several different methods we can use to put out a fire but the simplest and most effective extinguishing agent is plain old cheap and abundant water. If a sufficient amount of water is applied to the fire in its earliest stages, it will be extinguished with minimal damage to the structure. But if we are called too late and the fire grows out of control before we arrive, the building may be completely destroyed.

    Firefighters also educate the public on fire safety. We teach them how to prevent fires and what to do if they occur. I will return to this analogy later but for now the general lesson from firefighters is that the key to mitigating a potentially life and property destroying fire is knowledge, training and equipment. This allows us to apply the right extinguishing agent early enough and in sufficient quantities to put out the fire before the building burns down.


    I am an amateur prepper, not the “doomsday” type. Maybe it’s because I took the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” seriously or maybe it’s because I love the Biblical story of Joseph saving “the world” from starvation due to famine. In any case, this practice of being prepared has served my family well. When the mob of unprepared citizens began cleaning out the stores recently there was not much I had to run out and buy. (Although I was regrettably almost out of toilet paper.) I already had a freezer full of meat and even a box of N95 masks. Preppers spend time thinking about different scenarios that could happen and then prepare for them. Some do it out of fear but most do it because we know these things will happen to some degree at some point and we want to lessen the impact of these events on our family. We do not want to be dependent on the government to save us. We want to be in the position to help other people and not be a burden on them.


    Floridians are accustomed to preparing for hurricanes. It is an annual occurrence. We don’t panic because we know the enemy well and it is usually not as bad as it could be. We have an advantage over the folks who live in the Tornado Belt because we have plenty of advance notice that the storm is coming. Preparing for the Covid-19 virus to hit looked and felt like it does when we are preparing for a hurricane. We know it is coming but we do not know exactly when and where it will strike or how bad it will be. We all go out at the same time right before the storm and buy the supplies we need to weather the storm and get us through the aftermath. It always results in the store shelves being cleaned out of certain items. Our advice to you is to emulate our calm manner of preparation but do not emulate our practice of waiting until the last moment to obtain the supplies we need. The best approach is to stock up before storm season arrives.

    Step 3 – Hypothesis – Predict the Outcome to the Problem

    The doomsday outcomes predicted by the hysterical media and our clueless government officials are fatally flawed due to linear thinking. This is particularly prevalent in the West because the Western mind thinks in a linear manner – they act as if the trend in motion will continue on in the same direction indefinitely. The trend always changes. It is the Creator’s way. Cycles are the very foundation on which the universe was built. It is how energy moves. All viral outbreaks peak and then subside. This one will not be any different. Because the primary transmission route appears to be aerosolized droplets suspended in the air due to talking, coughing, and sneezing, the infection rate will drop dramatically as the air becomes warmer and moister. Airborne viruses love cool and dry air. Towards the end of the article I will be offering my predictions and proposed solutions.

    Steps 4, 5, and 6

    The world is in the midst of a huge quarantine experiment right now that we have rushed into without adequately stating our purpose and researching our options. In the aftermath we will be analyzing the results and coming to conclusions. Like the aftermath to any other crisis such as 911, most of the official government analysis will be propagandized and used to further their political agendas. We will be deluged with pseudoscience, lies, damned lies and statistics. Truth seekers must use real science to sift through the B.S. and find the truth just like we had to do with 911. Let us hope that the people of the world do not fall for the propaganda and “give up essential liberty to purchase a little safety.” One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” The government officials of the world know a lot that “just ain’t so.” Unfortunately that “knowledge” is what they base their decisions on.

    The World in Turmoil

    The world is in fear driven turmoil right now because of the following reasons:

    • Ignorance: Our leaders are completely ignorant about how the human body works and are relying on guidance from a conventional medical system that is rife with agenda and corporate driven pseudoscience.

    • Poor or non-existent planning and training: This is self evident and seems to apply to most countries.

    • Narrow thinking: The response is the same all over the world – mass quarantines, isolation, and shutting down of commerce and travel. No country seems to be taking a different approach.

    • Incompletely defining the problem: No government seems to be giving any serious consideration to how they can minimize the economic damage that their solution to the problem is causing. Yes, many governments are throwing vast amounts of money at the problem by creating debt based money but does that ever really work?

    • Treating the Covid-19 pandemic like a war that needs to be waged instead of a recurring problem that needs to be properly mitigated with the right tools and approaches for the job: The USA’s war on Covid-19 will be about as successful as the USA’s War on Cancer has been.

    The Cure For Covid-19

    The cure for Covid-19 already exists so there is no need to look to the pharmaceutical industry to save us. It is your body’s own immune system. Instead of destroying the world economy in knee-jerk reactionary style maybe the world’s governments should be finding ways to improve the health of their citizens. We have already established that this virus kills the elderly and the immune compromised and has mild effects on the healthy. We should be focusing on the death rate, not the infection rate. Many people get sick with a virus a few times a year and the world economy doesn’t shut down.

    I could write an entire series of articles on ways you can improve your health and immune system to the point that the Covid-19 virus would be only a minor irritation to you but this is not the forum for that. But I will tell you about the closest thing we have to a “magic bullet” and how the Chinese are using it to mitigate the virus.

    After approving several studies of using intravenous vitamin C for the treatment of Covid-19, on March 1st the Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases (which is hosted by the Shanghai Medical Association) pre-published the “Expert Consensus on Comprehensive Treatment of Coronavirus in Shanghai 2019.” Among its treatment recommendations was the following:

    “Prevention and treatment of cytokine storm: It is recommended to use large doses of vitamin C and unfractionated heparin. Large doses of vitamin C are injected intravenously at a dose of 100 to 200 mg / kg per day. The duration of continuous use is to significantly improve the oxygenation index.”

    China must be using it very extensively because in February they shipped 50 tons of it to Hubei Province, the capital city of which is Wuhan. No wonder turned things around so quickly at the epicenter of the outbreak.

    Vitamin C: The Magic Bullet for Inflammation

    Inflammation is the term we use to describe the body’s immune system response to injury or a foreign invader such as a virus or bad bacteria. It is at the root of all medical problems and diseases. When the immune system is overwhelmed, inflammation rages out of control. In the case of Covid-19 there is an overwhelming amount of inflammation in the lungs that leads to pneumonia, sepsis and death if the inflammatory fires are not quenched. This normally only happens in people with compromised immune systems. An optimally functioning immune system in a healthy person will easily mitigate the virus before it progresses to pneumonia. There are exceptions of course, but they are few.

    We now return to my firefighter analogy. We can easily extinguish a fire if we arrive on scene while it is still in its incipient stage. A small booster line or even a 2.5 gallon fire extinguisher is all that is needed. If our response is delayed the fire will grow exponentially to the point that is not safe to enter the building. We then apply very large streams of water from the outside and do not enter the building until after the majority of the flames have been extinguished. The sooner we apply the water the less of it that is required to do the job. If we do not apply large streams of water in the late stages of a fire the building will be lost.

    Vitamin C works the same way as water in our firefighter analogy. If enough oral vitamin C is taken at an early enough stage of an illness, the inflammation will be quenched and will never get to the exponential growth phase. The longer you wait to take it the more you will need to quench the inflammatory fire growing inside of you. The key to success is to take it at the first sign of symptoms. One you get to the exponential growth phase intravenous vitamin C is needed and it will be effective in a very large percentage of cases. If it is not applied, the result is death in a large percentage of cases.

    Doctors in China and even the USA are using intravenous vitamin C on Covid-19 patients with great success. Doctors and researchers all over the world have known for decades about the incredible power of intravenous vitamin C to quench the raging fires of inflammation.

    Sepsis is a condition that can be compared to the pneumonia that is killing the immune compromised elderly Covid-19 patients. They are both acute and massive inflammatory responses due to infection. An observational study published in The Lancet found that 100% of the early Covid-19 patients that died in Wuhan had sepsis. And not surprisingly most were older folks with health problems. Sepsis may be responsible for as many as 20% of deaths worldwide. It is one of the top killers of people that die in hospitals. One doctor in the USA has been using intravenous vitamin C in a treatment protocol that has reduced the death rate from sepsis by almost 5 fold – from 40% to 8.5%.

    Is It Really That Simple?

    Yes it is. “But Percy, then why aren’t governments around the world endorsing it and using it?” That is an almost irrelevant question. Does the scientific evidence and case studies prove it or not? I can give you a very conclusive answer for the USA. We have a corrupt and powerful pharmaceutical industry that exerts a massive amount of influence on our government. They use that power and influence to squash and suppress any medical treatment that cannot be patented and used to make obscene amounts of profit. Vitamin C cannot be patented so therefore it will not be widely used or studied. If it is not being used in your country then maybe your medical system has been corrupted or misled by the West. China is using it extensively, as well as a few renegade doctors in countries all over the world. If you look for them you will find them.

    Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

    I do not subscribe to this view because I believe that claims that can be proved or disproved by science all require the same amount of evidence. What is extraordinary to one may be ordinary to another. A good example is 911. I do not consider it to be an extraordinary claim to say that two planes did not bring down three buildings on 9/11/2001, particularly Building 7. The laws of physics prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. But to the vast majority of the American public that is too fantastic of a claim to even warrant checking into. So if you summarily dismiss my claims without serious investigation it will be similar to someone refusing to watch the excellent documentary 911: Explosive Evidence- Experts Speak Out by Architects and Engineers For 911 Truth because it sounds too fantastic to be true. Here are some links to get you started if you would like to conduct your own research. I highly recommend that you do so.

    • Vitamin C Material: Where to Start, What to Watch

    • 905 Abstracts with vitamin C research

    • Published Research and Articles on Vitamin C as a Consideration for Pneumonia, Lung Infections, and the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19)

    Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

    I would be remiss if I did not touch upon the more bizarre aspects of this crisis. I will list a few. This is certainly not an exhaustive list and I have only linked to the things that are facts. No conspiracy theory links here.

    • The biolab in Wuhan

    • Event 201, a corona virus pandemic exercise held on Oct. 18, 2019

    • The World Bank Pandemic Bonds

    • Government officials in sunny Florida are closing parks, beaches and restricting other outdoor activities such as boating in spite of the fact that outdoors in the sunshine is the best place to be during a pandemic

    • Netflix releases ‘Pandemic’ docuseries as coronavirus spreads

    • Lots of conspiracy theories floating around such as insiders and elites selling stocks and bonds right before the crash, installing 5G cell towers at schools during the shutdown and allegations of bio warfare between the USA and China

    I am attempting to apply Occam’s Razor to this crisis but I must admit that the longer this inexplicable and destructive behavior by governments goes on the more difficult it is for me to do so. Are all these things (and more) just amazing coincidences? I will let the reader decide.

    Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste

    When a “crisis” comes along, whether false flag or real, Western leaders always use it as an excuse to pass liberty destroying legislation that would be otherwise politically untenable. In the USA, 911 gave us the Patriot Act, TSA, DHS, etc. I fully expect the Covid-19 pandemic to bring us similar legislation such as the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act. Power grabs are being suggested and attempted all over the world. Here are a few headlines:

    • Corbella: Trudeau’s attempted power grab an alarming breach of trust

    • Gordon Brown calls for global government to tackle coronavirus

    • DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic

    • De Blasio urges ‘nationalization’ of key industries, calls coronavirus outbreak a ‘war-like situation’

    • Embattled Netanyahu Makes a Coronavirus Power Grab

    • EU warns of Hungary power grab as Orban seeks state of emergency extension

    I could fill up a page with headlines such as these. It is a very disturbing trend.

    Where We Go From Here

    I see myself as a realist, not an optimist or a pessimist. My study of history, economics, and politics tells me that the future looks grim. Much of the world is suffering under corrupt and ignorant leaders who cannot possibly successfully lead us out of this mess, particularly in the Western world. The world’s interconnected and dollar dominated financial system is a house of cards that has been waiting on the right flap of a butterfly’s wings to set off a series of events that will cause it to come tumbling down. We are past the point of no return. An economic recession or depression will be ushered in by the response to the Covid-19 virus, not the Covid-19 virus itself. The government response to a crisis always sets up the next crisis. Capital flight to the dollar has already begun en mass. By next year or the year after there will be loan defaults that will set off a worldwide contagion that will make 2008 look like a walk in the park. The Eurozone will implode first. The Covid-19 corona virus will mutate and be back next year and/or the year after that. Lord help us if our leaders shut the world down again next year. China will survive and be the beneficiary of the West’s self destruction. They will suffer, but not nearly as much as the West. The USA dominated Anglo-Zionist Empire will be largely over within 20 years, maybe much sooner. The new financial capital of the world will be China.

    Conclusion 1 – What Governments Should Do

    After we are on the downside of the infection bell curve governments should begin planning for the next round of this. Instead of being reactive they should be proactive. The primary focus should be to educate their citizens on how to be healthy. Healthy people have little to worry about from Covid-19 or most any other virus. Healthy people do not clog the healthcare system; unhealthy people do. They should also educate their citizens on ways they can support their immune systems and encourage them to do so quickly in the incipient stages of an illness. This will drastically reduce the strain of sick people on overburdened healthcare systems. That leaves only the worst cases to deal with. For these they should follow China’s lead and develop a treatment protocol that incorporates intravenous vitamin C to quench the inflammatory fire in the lungs that leads to death.

    The mass quarantines of entire cities, states, and countries must stop. It is not stopping the spread and it is destroying the world economy in the process. If they want to quarantine a population it should be the population with the greatest risk of death – the elderly.

    None of this will happen of course. When their approach doesn’t work, Western leaders usually double down on it hoping for a different result. Hopefully there will be some renegade local governments that will defy the unconstitutional decrees of their central government – like what many state governments are doing to the federal government in the USA regarding cannabis laws.

    Conclusion 2 – What You Can Do

    Since I am not under any illusions that this article will be read and considered by any person in power anywhere on the planet, the advice that follows is the reason I wrote this article. There is little chance that any of our overlords will be cured of the Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome that infects them. But, dear reader, if you are living in fear and hiding in your house or apartment and are afraid of contracting the Covid-19 virus there is hope for you. The antidote for fear is knowledge, training and preparation.

    I do not fear fire because I understand it and I am well trained and equipped to extinguish a fire at any stage of development. I always strive to extinguish the fire in its incipient stage before it grows out of control.

    I do not fear any virus because I understand them and I understand how my body uses its immune system to defend me from them. If I begin to get sick I know many natural methods to ramp up my immune system’s ability to fight off any infection whether viral or bacterial.

    If you are not healthy, begin taking steps to correct that now. This virus will be back, and when it does you want your immune system to be functioning at a high level. Take advantage of this “lockdown” time and gain some knowledge. Instead of watching the 24/7 news cycle repeated over and over again (which can rapidly lead to depression and a loss of hope) redeem the time and study how you can change your diet and lifestyle and get in excellent health. After the current madness subsides and the stores are restocked, begin stocking up on the supplies you will need for the next round of this. Become self sufficient and prepared for any emergency. Whatever you do, do not sit back and wait for the government or pharmaceutical industry to save you.

    If you do these things you can join me as I watch in stunned amazement the next time the whole world panics due to a pandemic. You will also be in a position to guide and assist your loved ones and neighbors. An economic storm and additional pandemic storms are coming and like minded people around the world need to pull together and help each other when they hit.

    *  *  *

    Percy Carlton is a soon to be retired firefighter/paramedic in a large city in the State of Florida in the USA. He has relentlessly studied and pursued truth in the areas of health, economics and geopolitics for the past 10 years.

    Tyler Durden

    Tue, 03/31/2020 - 00:05

    Pentagon Confirms Over 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Among Military, Orders Bases To Stop Public Reporting

    zerohedge News pentagon confirms over covid-19 cases among military orders basesto stop publicreporting All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
    Pentagon Confirms Over 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Among Military, Orders Bases To Stop Public Reporting

    The Department of Defense (DoD) announced a grim milestone Monday — it's total number of COVID-19 cases among US service members, civilian contractors, on-base civilian staff, and family dependents of troops has surpassed 1,000.

    “Total DoD Cases (current, recovered and deaths) is 1,087,” according to DoD fact sheet released on Monda

    Read More
    y. The numbers are as follow:

    • 569 military cases

    • 220 civilian cases 

    • 190 dependent cases

    • 64 contractor cases

    Defense Secretary Mark Esper, via Reuters.

    The Pentagon said 569 service members have been infected, among these 26 hospitalizations, and 34 have recovered.

    The remainder of total cases involve civilian contractors working on military bases and/or at the Pentagon, as well as dependents. This number is up significantly from Friday's total DoD number of 600.

    But it appears we are fast heading toward a near total reporting blockage in terms of DoD-wide cases, and specifically where they originate, and in what branches of the US armed services. As Stars & Stripes reports:

    The Defense Department has ordered commanders at all of its installations worldwide to stop announcing publicly new coronavirus cases among their personnel, as the Pentagon said Monday that more than 1,000 U.S. military-linked people had been sickened by the virus.

    The order issued by Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday is meant to protect operational security at the Defense Department’s global installations, Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement Monday. He said Defense Department leaders worried adversaries could exploit such information, especially if the data showed the outbreak impacted U.S. nuclear forces or other critical units.

    This constitutes perhaps the clearest admission thus far throughout the crisis that the coronavirus pandemic is a serious threat to US defense readiness and national security.

    USS Theodore Roosevelt, via US Navy

    Currently at least two aircraft carriers are battling outbreaks in their midst - both are in the Pacific Ocean and likely have seen their operational readiness deeply compromised as commanders try to contain the spread, with the USS Theodore Roosevelt already being diverted to Guam days ago.

    Tyler Durden

    Mon, 03/30/2020 - 21:05

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