COVID-19 pandemic

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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

The COVID-19 pandemic is a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020 and ended its public health emergency of international concern declaration on May 5, 2023.

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However you slice it, there was never an instance where COVID-19 was milder than the flu. We've never, ever in the history of the pandemic, in all our studies from the beginning until now, have found that COVID-19 is equally risky to the flu. ~ Ziyad Al-Aly
  • Another major lesson from COVID-19 is the importance of transparency, Adalja said.
    "I think what we see now is this distrust between infectious disease physicians, public health practitioners and the general public, because what happened is politicians injected themselves into this," he said. "People may not actually be receptive to the protective actions that are being recommended by public health officials."
  • [The COVID-19 pandemic is] most certainly not over. We lower our guard at our peril.
Declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.
  • و وباء #كورونا يجتاح العالم مهددا للبشريةندعو مجلس الأمن والأمين العام للأمم المتحدة انتونيو غوتيرش @antoniojuterres
    لايقاف القوى المعتدية عن عدوانها على الشعب اليمني وفك الحصار عليه
    فالوباء ينتشر بكافة أنحاء العالم ويجب أن تنعم شعوب العالم بالسلام وتتمكن من مكافحة الوباء الخطير


The hands of the Doomsday Clock remain at 100 seconds to midnight, as close to midnight as ever. The lethal and fear-inspiring COVID-19 pandemic serves as a historic ‘wake-up call,’ a vivid illustration that national governments and international organizations are unprepared to manage the truly civilization-ending threats of nuclear weapons and climate change. ~ Rachel Bronson
  • Many healthcare workers in our study had no prior illness, but of 172 such participants, 19 were still symptomatic at follow-up and off work at a median of 180 days.
Organ impairment in long COVID has implications for symptoms, quality of life and longer-term health, signalling the need for prevention and integrated care for long COVID patients.
  • You know, one of the things that continues to bother us in the way in which the moderators don’t even bring up an issue that, before COVID-19, was impacting 43% of this nation. A hundred forty million people, before COVID, were poor and low-wealth, and 62 million people working for less than a living wage. And since COVID, we know that millions have been added to the poverty and low-wealth numbers. We’re well over 50% because of the new poor. We know we had 87 million people before COVID that were either uninsured or underinsured, and now some 20 million people have been added because of people who have lost their insurance because they’ve lost their jobs. Forty percent of the jobs that make $40,000 a year have been lost.
  • Allow me to break down the facts of hunger as they stand right now. 811 million people are chronically hungry. 283 million are in hunger crises — they are marching toward starvation. And within that, 45 million in 43 countries across the globe are in hunger emergencies — in other words, famine is knocking on their door. Places like Afghanistan. Madagascar. Myanmar. Guatemala. Ethiopia. Sudan. South Sudan. Mozambique. Niger. Syria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Haiti and on and on and on. The world has often experienced famine. But when has it ever been so widespread, in so many places, at the same time? Why? Three reasons. First, man-made conflict. Dozens of civil wars and regional conflicts are raging, and hunger has been weaponized to achieve military and political objectives. Second, climate shocks /climate change. Floods, droughts, locusts and rapidly changing weather patterns have created severe crop failures around the world. Third, COVID-19. The viral pandemic has created a secondary hunger pandemic, which is far worse than the first. Shutdowns destroyed livelihoods. Shutdowns stopped the movement of food. Shutdowns inflated prices. The net result is the poor of the world are priced out of survival. The ripple effect of COVID has been devastating on the global economy. During the pandemic, $3.7 trillion in incomes — mostly among the poor — have been wiped out, while food prices are spiking. The cost of shipping food, for example, has increased 3 – 400%. But in places of conflict and low-income countries, it is even worse. For example, in Aleppo, Syria — a war zone, where I just returned from — food is now seven times more expensive than it was 2 years ago. The combined effect of these three — conflict, climate and COVID — has created an unprecedented perfect storm.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been caught on numerous occasions engaging in statistical manipulation in order to drive up a perpetual state of fear among Americans – all with the aim of coaxing people to get the Covid-19 ‘vaccine.’ But one thing the CDC appears entirely unwilling to do is to document the ways that natural immunity has made the vaccines redundant at best, and harmful at worst, for those who were previously infected.
  • Like humans, pathogens do not respect species boundaries. Overall, nearly eight billion people, many with advanced technologies and rapacious appetites, are tearing ecosystems apart and within these ecosystems live millions of different kinds of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. As Sonia Shah observes in her book Pandemic, society operates with an erroneous paradigm of disease, treating diseases as foreign invaders into our territory (a mentality she describes as “microbial xenophobia”), when in fact we are the invading species encroaching on the habitat and communities of animals and ecosystems. It is wrong to say that these diseases are happening to us, rather they are the unintended results of what we are doing to the natural world. Speculations about accidental laboratory origins of outbreaks and COVID-19 conspiracy plots of bioterrorism draw attention away from actual systemic structures and dynamics of human exploitation of nature, especially as driven by the growth-addicted world system of capitalism. Hardly unexpected or accidental, viral outbreaks are the inevitable consequences of human growth and expansion. All too often, we are the causes, not effects, the culprits, not victims, of pandemic-inducing pathogens.
  • What we shouldn't forget is how little we understood about this disease. There was a moment we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease.
    In fact, there was an idea at one moment that we might have to ask the public to exterminate all the cats in Britain. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that?
  • I've been in this (infectious diseases) business for 30 years. I've been through MERS, SARS, Ebola, the first Gulf war and the second, and I don't recall anything like this (Israeli being into unnecessary panic due to COVID-19). There's unnecessary, exaggerated panic. We have to calm people down. People are thinking that there's a kind of virus, it's in the air, it's going to attack every one of us, and whoever is attacked is going to die. That's not the way it is at all. It's not in the air. Not everyone (who is infected) dies. Most of them will get better and won't even know they were sick, or will have a bit of mucus.
  • The next level of covid escalation is questioning the justified existence of citizens that refuse to be vaccinated. It is with some irony that we are seeing the expert class increasingly sound like dissident political pundit Stefan Molyneux: “The time for arguments has passed.” Any concerns that once existed about the individual rights of those concerned about covid vaccines—including those who have a natural immunity to the virus from prior exposures—are quickly being dismissed by those in power.


The pandemic shutdown has shown us the problem. It has revealed what the world looks like without as much pollution, without the chaos and roar of mostly meaningless "work" performed by the exploited, using materials stolen from the abused, for the benefit of the pampered and oblivious. Another world is possible, and we've just gotten a glimpse of it. ~Lee Camp
  • This pandemic is not just a crisis, it's also a gift. It allows us the oxygen to notice the things we've been ignoring were the truly essential:
    Learning and creating
    – Enjoying clean water, clean air, clean food, and making sure every human has that right
    – Forming a world that will last longer than an NFL season
    – Spending a lot of time with your beautiful family (or a little time with an unsightly one)
    Point is — the stuff that truly matters is the stuff we were completely ignoring, blithely pushing it to the back of our minds as our planet is eaten for corporate profit. But now, during "life on hold" the natural world reclaims spaces. Beaches around the globe teem with millions of birds and wildlife, no longer flooded by undulating masses of fleshy apes with our frisbees, and snorkels, and beer coolers and entitlement.
  • Like cancer, capitalism grows until it murders the host body. During this pandemic shutdown, it's not getting the growth it needs and parts of it are becoming benign... For years...we've been lost in the frenetic pace of lives based on non-events, never pausing to reassess or recess. The spastic motion of avoidance filled the ether — afraid if we stop to truly think about it, we may find our scant few years of consciousness are pissed away as slaves at often meaningless jobs. They, the pustulant corporate owners, suck away our lives... And now, with life on holiday, we see almost none of it was essential... As our planet disintegrates under the weight of consumption and greed, most people are trapped in extreme poverty. And that's how the system of capitalism is designed. Slightly altering capitalism will not change this reality... If we take away the false promises of capitalism and just say to people, "Private luxury is only for a few humans. You will never have it and won't even have the chance at getting it" – if we admit that – then the entire justification for capitalism evaporates... The pandemic shutdown has shown us the problem. It has revealed what the world looks like without as much pollution, without the chaos and roar of mostly meaningless "work" performed by the exploited, using materials stolen from the abused, for the benefit of the pampered and oblivious. Another world is possible, and we've just gotten a glimpse of it.
  • Covid-19 has revealed glaring failures and monstrous brutalities in the current capitalist system. It represents both a crisis and an opportunity. Contests for controlling the narratives around the meaning of this pandemic will be the terrain of struggle for either a new, more humane common sense and society or a return to the status quo ante. The outcome of those contests is uncertain; everything depends on the actions that people take into their hands.
    • Noam Chomsky and Marv Waterstone, Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance (2021), p. 344


  • You may qualify for up to two weeks of health-related financial assistance IF you have been active on the DoorDash platform for at least 30 days AND have completed at least 30 deliveries in the last 30 days (counting back from the date medical documentation was acquired) AND you fulfill at least one of the following health-related requirements...
  • Sweden, a country which never imposed significant lockdown measures, has officially declared that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over” and announced that it will be lifting all remaining restrictions.




A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view; she runs harder with all the energy she has left. So must we. We can see the finish line, we are in a winning position, but now is the worst time to stop running. Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work. ~ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • Humanity continues to suffer as COVID-19 spreads around the world. In 2020 alone, this novel disease killed 1.7 million people and sickened at least 70 million more. The pandemic reveals just how unprepared and unwilling countries and the international system are to handle global emergencies properly. In this time of crisis, governments too often abdicated responsibility, ignored scientific advice, cooperated or communicated ineffectively, and consequently failed to protect the public health and welfare of their citizens.
  • We missed our previous routines, meetings and parties, living as we are, without being afraid of each other because of the virus and infection.
  • The most commonly reported mainstream media account of the creation of the Coronavirus suggests that it was derived from an animal borne microorganism... But there appears to be some evidence to dispute that... Because of that and other factors, there has also been considerable speculation that the Coronavirus did not occur naturally through mutation but rather was produced in a laboratory, possibly as a biological warfare agent.
    Several reports suggest that there are components of the virus that are related to HIV that could not have occurred naturally. If it is correct that the virus had either been developed or even produced to be weaponized it would further suggest that its escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab and into the animal and human population could have been accidental. Technicians who work in such environments are aware that "leaks" from laboratories occur frequently.


  • Those of us now in isolation, in spite of our fear and frustrations, in spite of our grief ⁠— for those who have died or may die, for the life we once lived, for the future we once hoped for ⁠— there is also a sense we are cocooned, transforming, waiting, dreaming. True: Terrors stalk the global landscape, notably the way the virus ⁠— or our countermeasures ⁠— will endanger those among us whom we, as a society, have already abandoned or devalued. So many of us are already disposable. So many of us are only learning it now, too late. Then there is the dangerous blurring of the line between humanitarian and authoritarian measures. There is the geopolitical weaponization of the pandemic. But when the Spring comes, as it must, when we emerge from hibernation, it might be a time of profound global struggle against both the drive to "return to normal" ⁠— the same normal that set the stage for this tragedy ⁠— and the "new normal" which might be even worse. Let us prepare as best we can, for we have a world to win.
  • After months of chaos, isolation and fear, the desire to return to normal, even if normal is an abusive system, may be extremely strong. The stage is set for this desire to be accompanied by a frantic revanchism. Will we want someone to blame, especially those of us who lose loved ones? Must there be blood, figurative or literal?: a baptism by fire so that the old order ⁠— which, of course, created the conditions of austerity and inequality that made this plague so devastating⁠ — can be reborn in purified form. Of course, things will never be "normal" again: some of us, the privileged and wealthy, may be afforded the illusion, but this illusion is likely to be carried on the backs of the vast majority who will work harder, longer and for less, suffer greater risks and fewer rewards. The debts of the pandemic, literal and figurative, will have to be repaid. On the other hand ⁠— or maybe at the same time ⁠— we can also expect that, among the powerful and among the rest of us, there will be calls to reject the "return to normal," but in order to embrace something even worse. It is likely that the chaos and deaths of the pandemic will be blamed on too much democracy, liberalism and empathy. Now that states are flexing their muscles and taking full command of society, there will be many who do not want the sleeve to be rolled back down. We may yet see, in this crisis, the use of repressive force on civilians ⁠— as it is already being used on migrants and incarcerated people ⁠— and I fear that it will be seen by many as justified, a human sacrifice to feed the Gods of fear. In the wake of the pandemic we can be sure that fascists and reactionaries will seek to mobilize tropes of ⁠— racial, national, economic ⁠— purity, purification, parasitism, and pollution to impose their long-festering dreams on reality.
  • Against all these fateful outcomes there will be those among us who refuse to return to normal, or to embrace the "new normal," those of us who know that "the trouble with normal is it only gets worse." Already, in the state of emergency that the crisis has unleashed, we are seeing extraordinary measures emerge that reveal that much of the neoliberal regime's claims to necessity and austerity were transparent lies. The God-like market has fallen, again. In different places a variety of measures are being introduced that would have been unimaginable even weeks ago. These have included the suspension of rents and mortgages, the free provision of public transit, the deployment of basic incomes, a hiatus in debt payments, the commandeering of privatized hospitals and other once-public infrastructure for the public good, the liberation of incarcerated people, and governments compelling private industries to reorient production to common needs. We hear news of significant numbers of people refusing to work, taking wildcat labor action, and demanding their right to live in radical ways. In some places, the underhoused are seizing vacant homes. We are discovering, against the upside-down capitalist value paradigm which has enriched the few at the expense of the many, whose labor is truly valuable: care, service, and frontline public sector workers. There has been a proliferation of grassroots radical demands for policies of care and solidarity not only as emergency measures, but in perpetuity.
  • Meanwhile, the quarantined and semi-isolated are discovering, using digital tools, new ways to mobilize to provide care and mutual aid to those in our communities in need. We are slowly recovering our lost powers of life in common, hidden in plain sight, our secret inheritance. We are learning again to become a cooperative species, shedding the claustrophobic skin of homo oeconomicus. In the suspension of a capitalist order of competition, distrust and endless, pointless hustle, our ingenuity and compassion are resurfacing like the birds to the smog-free sky. When the Spring arrives, the struggle will be to preserve, enhance, network and organize this ingenuity and compassion to demand no return to normal and no new normal. [...] We have learned how to bring a capitalist economy to its knees through non-violent protest in the face of overwhelming, technologically augmented oppression. We are learning how to become ungovernable by either states or markets. Equally important, we have learned new ways to care for one another without waiting for the state or for authorities. We are rediscovering the power of mutual aid and solidarity. We are learning how to communicate and cooperate anew. We have learned how to organize and to respond quickly, how to make collective decisions and to take responsibility for our fate. Like the heroes of all good epics, we are not ready, our training was not completed, yet fate will not wait. Like all true heroes, we must make do with what we have: one another and nothing else. As the world closes its eyes for this strange, dreamlike quarantine ⁠— save of course for those frontline health, service and care workers who, in the service of humanity, cannot rest, or those who have no safe place to dream ⁠— we must make ready for the waking. We are on the cusp of a great refusal of a return to normal and of a new normal, a vengeful normalcy that brought us this catastrophe and that will only lead to more catastrophe. In the weeks to come, it will be time to mourn and to dream, to prepare, to learn, and to connect as best we can. When the isolation is over, we will awaken to a world where competing regimes of vindictive normalization will be at war with one another, a time of profound danger and opportunity. It will be a time to rise and to look one another in the eye.
  • Yet, while we rightly point to the lack of ICU beds, ventilators, and trained medical staff across many Western states, we must recognize that the situation in most of the rest of the world is immeasurably worse. Malawi, for example, has about 25 ICU beds for a population of 17 million people. There are less than 2.8 critical care beds per 100,000 people on average across South Asia, with Bangladesh possessing around 1,100 such beds for a population of over 157 million (0.7 critical care beds per 100,000 people). In comparison, the shocking pictures coming out of Italy are occurring in an advanced health care system with an average 12.5 ICU beds per 100,000 (and the ability to bring more online). The situation is so serious that many poorer countries do not even have information on ICU availability. [...] Of course, the question of ICU and hospital capacity is one part of a much larger set of issues including a widespread lack of basic resources (e.g., clean water, food, and electricity), adequate access to primary medical care, and the presence of other comorbidities (such as high rates of HIV and tuberculosis). Taken as a whole, all of these factors will undoubtedly mean a vastly higher prevalence of critically ill patients (and hence overall fatalities) across poorer countries as a result of COVID-19.
  • Debates around how best to respond to COVID-19 in Europe and the United States have illustrated the mutually reinforcing relationship between effective public health measures and conditions of labor, precarity, and poverty. Calls for people to self-isolate when sick — or the enforcement of longer periods of mandatory lockdowns — are economically impossible for the many people who cannot easily shift their work online, or those in the service sector who work in zero-hour contracts or other kinds of temporary employment. Recognizing the fundamental consequences of these work patterns for public health, many European governments have announced sweeping promises around compensation for those made unemployed or forced to stay at home during this crisis. It remains to be seen how effective these schemes will be, and to what degree they will actually meet the needs of the very large numbers of people who will lose their jobs as a result of the crisis. Nonetheless, we must recognize that such schemes will simply not exist for most of the world's population. In countries where the majority of the labor force is engaged in informal work or depends upon unpredictable daily wages — much of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia — there is no feasible way that people can choose to stay home or self-isolate. This must be viewed alongside the fact that there will almost certainly be very large increases in the "working poor" as a direct result of the crisis.
  • One microcosm of this can be seen in the Gaza Strip, where over 70 percent of the population are refugees living in one of the most densely packed areas in the world. The first two cases of COVID-19 were identified in Gaza on March 20 (a lack of testing equipment, however, has meant that only 92 people out of the 2-million-strong population have been tested for the virus). Reeling from thirteen years of Israeli siege and the systematic destruction of essential infrastructure, living conditions in the Strip are marked by extreme poverty, poor sanitation, and a chronic lack of drugs and medical equipment (there are, for example, only sixty-two ventilators in Gaza, and just fifteen of these are currently available for use). Under blockade and closure for most of the past decade, Gaza has been shut to the world long before the current pandemic. The region could be the proverbial canary in the COVID-19 coalmine — foreshadowing the future path of the infection among refugee communities across the Middle East and elsewhere.
  • as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the official Covid narrative is finally falling apart, or is being hastily disassembled, or historically revised, right before our eyes. The “experts” and “authorities” are finally acknowledging that the “Covid deaths” and “hospitalization” statistics are artificially inflated and totally unreliable




  • Vladimir Putin's government has also been accused of downplaying the severity of the outbreak. Officially, there have been 2,337 cases in Russia—very low by international standards—but low testing rates make it hard to know for sure. Critics suggest that a suspiciously nationwide uptick in pneumonia cases in recent weeks actually consists of undiagnosed COVID-19 cases. Aggressive measures put in place to punish the spread of "false" information on the outbreak online may also be preventing media outlets from publishing accurate information. After moving much more slowly than other governments to order lockdowns and social distancing measures, Russia is finally implementing new rules as the number of cases has grown rapidly in recent days. Putin, who was highly visible while touting the government's efforts to contain the disease's spread early on, was conspicuously absent when it was time to deliver the bad news. The impending crisis has not stopped Russia's government from scoring a propaganda coup by shipping medical supplies to other countries—including the U.S.
  • Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, highlighted that the virus is still “ intensely circulating” around the world and that the agency believes that case numbers being reported are an underestimate.
    “We expect that there are going to be future waves of infection, potentially at different time points throughout the world caused by different subvariants of Omicron or even different variants of concern”, she said, reiterating her previous warning that the more the virus circulates, the more opportunities it has to mutate.
    However, she said, these future waves do not need to translate into “waves or death” because there are now effective tools such as vaccines and antivirals specifically for COVID-19.


Is the current death toll — of more than 1,500 a day, or equivalent to more than 500,000 deaths a year — too much? Many people would say, of course, it is. But in the middle of a delta variant surge, Americans may be revealing their preferences as restaurant reservations are now around the pre-pandemic normal — a sign the country is moving on. ~ German Lopez
  • What we have witnessed so far is cause for alarm. The institutional xenophobia of the state form is becoming especially manifest just as we are gaining increasing awareness of the lethal danger the virus poses for all humanity. The European states responded to the initial spread of the coronavirus in a totally uncoordinated fashion. Very quickly, most European states — Central Europe in particular — locked themselves behind the administrative walls of their national territory in order to protect their population from the "foreign virus," and the first countries in Europe to cloister themselves in were also the most xenophobic. This set the tone throughout Europe and the rest of the world: every state must look after their own — to the delight of the extreme right in Europe and elsewhere. And nothing has been more abject than the lack of solidarity with the most affected countries. Italy's abandonment by France and Germany — who pushed selfishness to new heights by refusing to send Italy medical equipment and protective masks — sounded the death knell for a Europe built on a foundation of generalized competition between states.
  • By adopting a strategy of "mitigation," or epidemic delay by "flattening the curve," these countries have de facto renounced any serious attempt to keep the virus under control from the start through the use of systematic screening and general confinement of the population, as was done in Wuhan and Hubei province. According to the forecasts of the German and French governments, the strategy of collective immunity necessitates 50 to 80 percent contamination across the entire population. This amounts to accepting the deaths of hundreds of thousands — even millions — of people who are supposedly the "most fragile." All the while, the WHO's recommendations were very clear: states must not abandon systematic screening and contact tracing of anyone who tests positive for the virus.
  • The public service is a mechanism by which the governors become the servants of the governed. These obligations, which are imposed on those who govern as well as the agents of government, form the basis of what Duguit calls "public responsibility." This is why the public service is a principle of social solidarity, one which is imposed on all, and not a principle of sovereignty, inasmuch as the latter is incompatible with the very idea of public responsibility. This conception of the public service has largely been suppressed by the fiction of state sovereignty. But the public service nonetheless continues to make itself felt by virtue of the strong connection citizens feel toward what they still consider to be a fundamental right. For the citizen's right to public services is the strict corollary of the duty or obligation of state representatives to provide public services. This why the citizens of various European countries affected by the current crisis have demonstrated, in diverse ways, their attachment to public services in their daily fight against the coronavirus: for instance, the citizens of numerous Spanish cities have applauded their healthcare workers from their balconies, regardless of their political attitude toward the centralized unitary state. [...] Two relations must therefore be carefully separated here: the citizenry’s attachment to the public service, and healthcare in particular, in no way suggests adherence to public authority or public power in its various forms, but rather suggests an attachment to services whose essential function is to meet the public's need. Far from disclosing an underlying identification with the nation, this attachment gestures toward a sense of a universal that crosses borders, and accordingly renders us sensitive to the trials our "pandemic co-citizens" are enduring, whether they are Italian, Spanish, or live beyond European borders. We are extremely skeptical of Macron's promise to be the first leader to question "our developmental model" after the crisis is over, and there are plenty of reasons to think that the drastic economic measures currently in place will eventually share the same fate as those enacted during the 2008 economic crisis: we will likely see a concerted effort to "return to normal" — i.e., return to our otherwise uninterrupted destruction of the planet amidst increasingly conditions of social inequality. And we fear the enormous stimulus packages designed to "save the economy" will once again be borne on the backs of the lowest-paid workers and taxpayers.
  • What I found disgusting and really distressing ... was not just the travel ban being implemented by the UK and Europe but that that was the only reaction, or the strongest reaction.
  • There was no word of support that they're going to offer to African countries to help us control the pandemic and particularly no mention of addressing this vaccine inequity that we have been warning about all year and [of which] we are now seeing the consequences play out
  • This coronavirus, they're just — all of this panic is just not warranted. This, I'm telling you, when I tell you — when I've told you that this virus is the common cold. When I said that, it was based on the number of cases. It's also based on the kind of virus this is.
  • Three years ago, experts were saying that bat coronaviruses could become a new pandemic. Almost two months ago, experts were saying that the new virus in Wuhan was potentially a global threat. One month ago, experts were saying that it was likely to be pandemic, and the White House's response was that this was under control, despite the fact that the US's testing was demonstrably giving a false picture of the extent of infection. This was foreseeable, and foreseen, weeks and months ago, and only now is the White House coming out of denial and heading straight into saying it could not have been foreseen.
  • Are 30,000 to 40,000 deaths a year too many? That’s generally what the country sees with gun violence and car crashes — and American policymakers, at least, haven’t been driven to major actions on these fronts.
    Are as many as 60,000 deaths a year too many? That’s what Americans have tolerated for the flu.
    Are 90,000 deaths a year too many? That’s the death toll of the ongoing drug overdose crisis — and while policymakers have taken some steps to combat that, experts argue the actions so far have fallen short, and the issue doesn’t draw that much national attention.
    Is the current death toll — of more than 1,500 a day, or equivalent to more than 500,000 deaths a year — too much? Many people would say, of course, it is. But in the middle of a delta variant surge, Americans may be revealing their preferences as restaurant reservations are now around the pre-pandemic normal — a sign the country is moving on.


Sweden is now down to 50th in the ranking of total Covid deaths per capita since the pandemic began. Almost every other country ranked above Sweden had lockdowns, mask mandates and draconian restrictions. Sweden meanwhile, largely kept its society open and freedoms intact. ~ James Melville
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has jolted everyone into a renewed interest in environmentalism, sustainability, and conservation. In fact, nature is celebrating in the wake of the pandemic. Animals have been found roaming the streets of numerous cities around the world because humans have temporarily retreated. Fish are being seen in rivers previously too polluted to support life, and the skies have cleared up of pollution. It is unfortunate that humanity needed this hard knock to give back nature its share, at least in the short term. But this wakeup call could also be an opportunity to bring spirituality back into people’s lives in a big way.
    • Malhotra, R. (2021). Artificial intelligence and the future of power: 5 battlegrounds. New Delhi : Rupa, 2021.
  • The pandemic appears to have given a boost to the China-like command societies and economies in times of disaster when the pragmatics of rapid decision-making and implementation take priority over aesthetic values like individualism and freedom.
    • Malhotra, R. (2021). Artificial intelligence and the future of power: 5 battlegrounds. New Delhi : Rupa, 2021.
  • And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
    And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
    And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
  • Sweden is now down to 50th in the ranking of total Covid deaths per capita since the pandemic began. Almost every other country ranked above Sweden had lockdowns, mask mandates and draconian restrictions. Sweden meanwhile, largely kept its society open and freedoms intact.
  • Governments around the world say they’re engaged in a war against the coronavirus. [...] This kill-or-die idiom is more than casual rhetorical overkill. Many governments are symbolically but very deliberately calling, in this time of fear and uncertainty, for general conscription along military lines. This is so they can, while pointing to an insidious foreign enemy, aim their firepower against some of the most valuable institutions of domestic public life. They have been very successful so far. [...] In addition to economic and military mobilization, wartime measures typically encourage a high degree of political, social and intellectual conformity. The general idea is that, in the face of an existential challenge from a vicious enemy, criticism of the government ought to cease. The media tends to become more patriotic, as do former political partisans. Such was the case in the United States during the early stages of its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, when most journalists and even Democratic politicians rallied around the Republican George W. Bush administration. The trouble is that the "war" against Covid-19 is actually not a war at all. And no one should feel obliged to sign up for it. The loss of, and separation from, loved ones, and the fear and anxiety that is devastating many lives is not an opportunity to fantasize about heroism in battle. The pandemic is, primarily, a global public health emergency; it is made potentially lethal as much by long neglected and underfunded social welfare systems as by a highly contagious virus. A plain description like this is not as stirring as a call to arms — and doesn’t justify the more extreme actions governments have taken against critics during the crisis. It does, however, open up a line of inquiry that journalists ought to pursue, now as well as in the future.
  • There are two ways this could go. We could, as some people have done, double down on denial. Some of those who have dismissed other threats, such as climate breakdown, also seek to downplay the threat of Covid-19... Or this could be the moment when we begin to see ourselves, once more, as governed by biology and physics, and dependent on a habitable planet. Never again should we listen to the liars and the deniers. Never again should we allow a comforting falsehood to trounce a painful truth. No longer can we afford to be dominated by those who put money ahead of life.


  • To counteract all this, we are told that big government must now return, to regain control, redistribute resources and, with enlightened industrial policy, steer resources to particular national industries and green technology. This is what the debate looked like even before the pandemic. When the new coronavirus ravaged the planet, suspicion of the outside world and free trade exploded. Governments began to close their borders and demand that supply chains be repatriated. ‘I don’t want to talk about a victory lap,’ Trump’s rather enthusiastic business secretary said about the ravages of the virus, but ‘I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.’ Financial Times’ global business columnist Rana Foroohar declared that ‘Globalisation as we’ve known it for the last forty years, has failed.’ Governments, meanwhile, decided that the way to protect the economy was bailouts for everyone – first for the financial sector, then for everybody else. People got used to the idea that gains are to be privatized but a growing share of losses are to be covered by taxpayers or central banks. When they run out of money, they just print more and when this creates inflation, people need another round of bailouts to compensate for higher prices. And so on.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)
  • The pandemic, explained the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, was the definitive ‘end of the neoliberal era inaugurated by Thatcher and Reagan’. We don’t just hear that from Social Democrats these days. Now right-wing populists, journalists and economists also claim that ‘the Reagan/Thatcher era is over’. These two leaders are often used as symbols of the era of economic liberalization in the early 1980s, and I agree that it feels an awful lot like that era has come to an end. Donald Trump’s advisor Stephen Moore declared that the Republicans are no longer Reagan’s party but Trump’s, and that’s exactly how the party comes across in their recent agitation against free trade, immigration and tech companies, not to mention lies about election fraud. (Reagan once called the peaceful transfer of power the ‘magic’ of the free world.) Thatcher’s Tories have abandoned the European single market she was once instrumental in developing, and have simultaneously abandoned many other economic orthodoxies, toying with more active industrial policies and ‘Buy British’ slogans – a new attitude that Boris Johnson in an unguarded moment happened to summarize as ‘fuck business’. His short-lived successor, Liz Truss, who famously declared that large-scale imports of cheese were ‘a disgrace’, tried to invoke the Iron Lady, albeit through her boldness rather than her policies. Instead, Truss railed against the ‘consensus of the Treasury, of economists, with the Financial Times’ that budgets should be balanced and went on to doom her premiership with a massive, unfunded package of energy subsidies and tax cuts, which markets refused to finance.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)


Why not take advantage of the knowledge of the Global South? If we work together this way, then we can protect the whole globe. ~ Tulio de Oliveira
  • You might remember Covid! It's the Stephen Miller of diseases, in that we were all very worried about it a few years ago and have since moved on even though it's still extremely dangerous.
    • John Oliver, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver -- "Pig Butchering Scams" (March 3, 2024)
  • De Oliveira says those early efforts included developing methods to minimize the number of samples that clinics would need to send in so that South Africa's already strapped health workers could contribute.
    And yet, de Oliveira says, the burden those health workers face is something many of his Global North colleagues overlook.
    "They come with these great ideas of setting up these really advanced computer systems in the clinic."
    De Oliveira's response: First try spending a day at one of our rural clinics.
    "Most of them just burst into tears during the process," he says. "And they're like, 'Oh! I didn't realize that that clinic would have like, 500 people in the queue. And like, people almost dying and the doctors didn't have the tools. And that if I put in an advanced computer system that tries to get [hundreds of samples], not only is it going to have no effect, but it will disturb the clinicians who are overworked.' "


The whole messaging of this pandemic is you're stuck at home teleworking, that must be really tough so here are some recipes for sourdough starter, and here's what you should catch up on Netflix. ~ Nick Papageorge
  • "The whole messaging of this pandemic is you're stuck at home teleworking, that must be really tough so here are some recipes for sourdough starter, and here's what you should catch up on Netflix," Papageorge said. "But what about the people who aren't teleworking? What are they going to do?"
    People with access to the outdoors at home were 20% more likely to maintain social distance.
    "It's not shocking that if you don't live in a comfortable house you're going to be leaving your house more often," Papageorge said. "But the point we want to push is that if I'm a policymaker maybe I really need to think about opening city parks in a dense neighborhood during a pandemic. Maybe that's something that's worth the risk. This is why we want to understand these details -- they can eventually suggest policies."
  • Even among the experts I’ve spoken to over the past few weeks, there’s wide disagreement on how much risk is tolerable, when milder precautions like masking are warranted, and at what point harsher measures, like lockdowns and school closures, are needed. There’s not even agreement on what the endgame is; some say that, from a policy standpoint, the goal should be to keep caseloads manageable for hospitals, while others call for doing much more to drive down Covid-19.
    One big problem identified by experts: “I don’t think we’re having those conversations enough,” Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist at George Mason University, told me. Instead of the public and officials openly discussing how much risk is acceptable, the public dialogue often feels like two extremes — the very risk-averse and those downplaying any risk of the coronavirus whatsoever — talking past each other.
  • If I had to sum it up, I would say sheer madness. It's obscene. It's strictly political, really, an attempt to divert from what we all know has been a gross mismanagement of the prevention phase of this in the United States and the response phase, and it's tragic because the World Health Organization now is moving into a phase where it is going to try to help avert a catastrophe in the developing world. If we think about how difficult it has been for us in the United States with our sophisticated healthcare system to manage this crisis, imagine living in a slum in a developing country or in a refugee camp. And in places like that, the only place you really have to turn for expertise and for financial support is the World Health Organization when governments themselves can't provide the resources. So the timing of this is particularly catastrophic because it is just about to wallop parts of the world in vulnerable communities that really can't handle it. I mean, Trump has a point about aspects of the World Health Organization's response that have been problematic. The problem is his very criticisms are ones that you could levy just as easily at him, overreliance on China, flattery of China, sucking up to China, to put it in an undiplomatic way. I mean, that's something that we saw it characterize the early phase of the U.S. response led by President Trump, and downplaying the crisis until it was too late, missing the month of February, as he did, to get the testing apparatuses in place and put in place the kinds of guidelines that we have now but at the time when it's already spread across the country.
  • The moment that the Chinese scientists and doctors announced that the coronavirus could be transmitted between human beings on Jan. 20, 2020, the socialist governments went into action to monitor ports of entry and to test and trace key parts of the population. They set up task forces and procedures to immediately make sure that the infection would not go out of control amongst their people. They did not wait till the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on March 11.
    This is in stark contrast to governments in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, India, and other capitalist states, where there has been a hallucinatory attitude towards the Chinese government and the WHO. There is no comparison between the stance of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and U.S. President Donald Trump: the former had a sober, science-based attitude, while the latter has consistently laughed off the coronavirus as a simple flu as recently as June 24.




  • Vaccines against the coronavirus may impair the body’s ability to produce a key type of antibody, thus potentially limiting the immune system’s defenses against mutated strains of the virus, a new study suggests.
  • Successful vaccine rollouts have failed to stop Covid transmission, with new data showing the prevalence of the virus increasing in fully jabbed individuals, according to a medical study in The Lancet. Examining new infections in Germany, researchers found that the rate of cases among fully vaccinated individuals aged 60 and older has risen from 16.9% in July to 58.9% in October.


  • We believe that Spain will not have, at most, beyond a diagnosed case. Hopefully there will be no local transmission. If there is, it will be very limited and very controlled
  • During lockdown... and hedgehog walkabouts were a lot safer
    • David Suzuki Nature of things (November 12, 2021) a video with this explanation: When humanity hits pause, nature reboots. Scientists discover the surprising ways pandemic lockdowns affected our planet (youtube video not available yet)


  • The Corona crisis will shrink the inflow of dollars. Hopefully, this is temporary, no more than a few months. CBN can allow some downward pressure on the naira without energetically intervening to defend the exchange rate. Only if and when the rate seems that it might dip precipitously should the CBN intervene.
  • If one word could sum up the experience of 2020, it would be disbelief. Between Xi Jinping’s public acknowledgment of the coronavirus outbreak on January 20, 2020, and Joseph Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States precisely a year later on January 20, 2021, the world was shaken by a disease that in the space of twelve months killed more than 2.2 million people and rendered tens of millions severely ill. As of the end of April 2021, when this book went to press, the global death toll exceeded 3.2 million. The danger it posed disrupted the daily routine of virtually everyone on the planet, stopped much of public life, closed schools, separated families, interrupted travel both within and between countries, and upended the world economy. To contain the fallout, government support for households, businesses, and markets took on dimensions not seen outside wartime. It was not just by far the sharpest economic recession experienced since World War II, it was qualitatively unique. Never before had there been a collective decision, however haphazard and uneven, to shut large parts of the world’s economy down. It was, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put it, “a crisis like no other.”
    • Adam Tooze Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy (2021)


  • In an interview with The Economist last month, Bill Gates stated that millions of people in developing countries would die before the COVID-19 pandemic was over. He noted, importantly, that 90 percent of the deaths would not result from the virus itself, but from “indirect” effects. These include most prominently the economic impact of the pandemic, as well as other causes such as the overwhelming of medical and public health resources, which increases fatalities from other diseases. Gates was not exaggerating at all. It’s easy to see how this horror will materialize, if we project forward from the current situation.
  • ​In the light of the coronavirus pandemic, I focus criticism on capitalism and the vulnerabilities it has accumulated for several reasons. Viruses are part of nature. They have attacked human beings—sometimes dangerously—in both distant and recent history. [...] Alternative systems—those not driven by a profit-first logic—could manage viruses better. While not profitable to produce and stockpile everything needed for a viral pandemic, it is efficient. The wealth already lost in this pandemic far exceeds the cost to have produced and stockpiled the tests and ventilators, the lack of which is contributing so much to today's disaster. Capitalism often pursues profit at the expense of more urgent social needs and values. In this, capitalism is grossly inefficient. This pandemic is now bringing that truth home to people.
  • "...Who do you know that has ever said, “I’m going to get really drunk and then drive around on public roads?”; Who do you know that has ever said, “I’m going to go out in public, but I refuse to wear a face mask?”
Both these questions can end in the same result to any of us in Gadsden.....If you choose to drive a vehicle when you’re drunk,..., you are putting everyone on our highways in danger of possible injury — or even death....It’s the same as choosing not to wear a face mask in public. You’re putting everyone around you in danger by possibly exposing them to COVID-19, ultimately leading to severe illness and even death for some....You’ll never even know that you injured someone or gave them the virus that caused their death.....I’ve heard some say, “It’s My body, my choice.” It’s your choice for your body, but not my body, or all the general public’s bodies around you that you are exposing to the virus...."


  • The pandemic must be tackled together, united, and following science. Any attempt to politicize or stigmatize the pandemic must be rejected.
  • In dealing with the Covid-19 epidemic that suddenly exploded, we have given expression to the great love that unites human beings by adhering to the principle according to which people and human life must be put first, and we have written an epic of the struggle to the epidemic with intrepidity, aware of the fact that unity is strength.

See also

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