COVID-19 Timeline

Another COVID-19 post… sorry folks, but as an analytical person I prefer and appreciate information in a visual and structural format.  If you do as well, keep reading…

This timeline, written by Stephanie Parker, chronicles the spread of this lethal virus into a pandemic that has shut down our planet.  Starting with a warning from Dr Li in Wuhan on December 30, to the present (April 23rd).  Four months of facts and details.

It is not behind us yet; unfortunately, the timeline continues to grow.  Just how far no one really knows.  Economists and those struggling financially are hoping the world re-opens soon, but scientists are sceptical and hesitant.  In the meantime, we are all holding our breaths and doing what we can to get through this.

One of the things that bothers me about this pandemic, far behind the economic destruction, is the judgement and negativity it has spawned.  Hopefully that too will come to an end soon.

Feature image from Pixabay

 

Bill Maher on Virus Shaming

Bill Maher hits the nail on the head!!  My blog has been saturated with posts related to COVID-19 lately.  This video sums them all up pretty well…

Other than the fact that the Spanish flu didn’t start in Spain, the points Maher makes are all valid.  History buffs know that as Spain was one of the neutral European countries in WW1, their (uncensored) media were the first to report the ravages of the virus that was killing off millions.

Made in Canada

When the dust settles, we must plan ahead to ensure we are better prepared for a health and economic disaster like the one we are currently dealing with.  Hopefully the powers that be in our country are realizing that we must manufacture more at home, with incentives to produce and buy local.  Dependent on the kindness and generosity of others is not recommended when the chips are on the table, and the world is reeling.  Unfortunately, discovering who you can and cannot rely on for help is often a bitter pill to swallow.

This may seem like a drastic statement, coming from someone like me who tends to support and see the best in others regardless of who they are and where they live.  Self preservation takes over at some point though, especially when we are seeing acts of greed and unsanitary practices that are adversely affecting the whole world.

Everyone knows COVID-19 started in the wet markets of China. The disgustingly unsanitary practice of selling “fresh” meat on the streets has to stop.  If you agree, please sign this petition.  How many viruses are we going to let take over the world before something is done to prevent them at their source?

What can we do at the grass roots level?  We can start by paying more attention to the origin of items we purchase.  From food to clothing to PPE (personal protective equipment) to household items, our Canadian standards for all of these things are much stricter, something we take for granted.

Do your due diligence, look for the made in Canada labels!  You could not miss the label on the stainless steel set of pots and pans I recently purchased.  Sometimes though, you have to look a bit harder, but all products (for import and export) must be labelled with their origin.  Not “packaged by,” or “assembled in”, but “product of” or “made in.”  Even products sold online have their “country of origin” listed, somewhere.  You can even google the information.  For example, recently I looked up “canned mushrooms made in Canada” and found out they are available at some Canadian Tire stores and my local Canadian Super Store.

This COVID-19 virus should be a wake-up call heard around the world. From a Canadian standpoint, our economy should be able to rely on us manufacturing and consuming Canadian products as much as possible.  You should have the same concerns about supporting your local and federal economy where ever you live.  Globally, the health of all of us may depend on it.

 

 

 

COVID Coverup

Will the global consequences of the COVID-19 coverup in China go unpunished and no permanent changes made? During this time of crisis, when this virus is devastating the economy and health of the rest of the world as well, it may seem inappropriate to point fingers. At what point does the world start demanding answers, accountably and change though?

What is it about China that these fast spreading viruses keep originating there? Does anyone remember SARS in 2002 and the Asian Flu in 1956? My comments are not racially motivated, it’s not about Chinese people anywhere in the world, but about the law makers in China.  The coincidence is getting far too suspicious. I would be equally suspicious of any other country in the world, including my own, if their irresponsible, unaccountable behaviour warranted it.

The facts speak for themselves. A concentrated population, “wet (live) markets” of livestock such as pigs and poultry, other mammals and reptiles, combined with limited sanitation and hygiene. A culture that thrives on freshly slaughtered poultry because it is tastier and healthier than refrigerated or frozen meat. All of these conditions factor into a perfect storm for these deadly viruses that can, and obviously do, rapidly mutate and jump species to infect humans.

picture of a Chinese wet market, wikipedia

As well as the unsanitary practice of exposing humans to raw meat, China is known for its censorship and secrecy, even bullying tactics all in the guise of controlling their reputation. Their health and safety regulations are murky at best. They also resist modern medicine, adhering to herbal treatments and acupuncture to treat emerging illnesses, even when these treatments do not show signs of working. Potential diseases have a chance to fester and incubate within their population long before anyone steps up to admit things are out of control. These actions delay global response, as we are all witness to now.

When COVID-19 first emerged in Wuhan China, it was known as “a SARS-like” virus, discovered by Dr. Li Wenliang and his cohorts. They published their fears on social media, way back in early December of 2019, but instead of being heroes and saviours, they were formally reprimanded and their warnings completely shut down by Chinese authorities.

Sadly Dr Li died with COVID-19 symptoms in February, before his convictions could be taken seriously and used to (potentially) prevent the global spread of the disease. After the outpouring of grief and anger from the Chinese population, an investigation (by their own government) admitted the disciplinary action against Dr. Li was “wrong” and an apology to his family was granted. Several top authorities, a few from their Communist Party as well as health officials, were fired over the mishandling of the viral outbreak. And, they did issue a ban on the sale or trade of live animals in January, albeit temporarily.

Big deal. Chinese authorities uncharacteristically apologized and admitted to their “mistake.” What about the information and grave (pun intended) message Dr. Li and his team were trying to share with the world?

For the first time in months, China supposedly has no new cases of COVID-19 infection. That is if you believe the data they share with the now ravaged, shut down countries within the rest of the world. That means it must be time to ramp up their economic recovery plan to show the rest of the world how great they are, all while deflecting from their actions and responsibilities.

Have you heard their accusation that COVID-19 actually originated in the USA? More deflection. Rumours spread in desperation to pass the buck. Fake news, started by bored Chinese citizens in lockdown, was picked up and tweeted by authorities including their foreign ministry spokesman. Here are a few of the accusations and rumours prevalent on social media:

  • the deadly virus was brought to Wuhan by the US army.
  • COVID-19 is a biological weapon, cooked up in an American laboratory.
  • the virus was brought to China during the Military Olympic Games last October.
  • China’s emergence as a global superpower is threatening to the USA, so this was a plan to slow China’s progress down.
  • the virus was deliberately released by China to eliminate the growing number of Chinese pensioners. There are over 250 million citizens, 17.3% of their population, over the age of 60. An aging population refers to a country with more than 10%.
  • 2020 is the year of the rat within the Chinese zodiac, with the transition purportedly being resisted by the aggressive rat’s predecessor the pig. That theory says things will settle down after the beginning of spring. Hmmmm, coincidence that they have no new cases of COVID-19 now that spring has arrived?
  • pets are to blame for the spread of the virus. This came from the belief that the virus originated from bats. Pets are animals too, so must too be suspects in viral transmission.
  • alcohol could treat the virus. A Chinese epidemiologist started this rumour saying that a concoction of ether and 75 per cent ethanol (alongside chlorine-containing disinfectant and peroxyacetic acid) would be effective in eradicating the virus. He later claimed he meant alcohol should be used to disinfect with, not to imbibe.
@CookLand_info

Unfortunately, this is not the first time these kind of accusations and silly rumours have surfaced. And unless drastic measures are taken, it won’t be the last.

Hopefully, the time for the world to hold China accountable comes soon.

 

The Benefits of COVID-19

You wouldn’t think much good would come out of a pandemic such as COVID-19, but a few benefits have emerged. Hopefully these few good things will not disappear with the virus, if it ever does that is.

Pollution

China is typically the world’s biggest polluter, contributing 30% of the world’s CO2 emissions annually. Pictures taken by NASA have been circulating depicting the increased air quality in China. In this first set of pictures, nitrogen dioxide emissions depicted by yellow clouds of toxic gas between January 1 and 20, have disappeared between February 10 and 25th.

Due to the reduction in burning fossil fuels (coal) in China during measures taken to contain COVID-19, the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) has reported that CO2 emissions were down by at least 25% between February 3 and March 1. Good quality air days increased 22% in February due to the shut down of power plants and factories as well as the lack of vehicles on the roads. Unlike 2019 and other years, the level of pollution in China did not rise in 2020 after the Chinese New Year.

With most of Italy in quarantine, their iconic waterways are getting cleaner. The air and water is less polluted since there is less vaporetti (public waterbuses) and other boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents.  The reemergence of dolphins, fish and swans is exciting as they have not been seen in many years due to the polluted waters.

This amazing drop in emissions and the resultant fresh air and clean water is huge, but will it last? Now that they are recovering from the ravage of COVID-19, China is already talking stimulus measures for factories and workers to ramp up their activity to boost their floundering economy.

Their populations might rebel though if China’s blue skies turn gray again and Italy’s waterways revert to a murky disgrace.

Humanitarian Gestures

Sometimes crisis brings out the best in people. Many heartwarming humanitarian gestures have been circulating with the COVID-19 virus. Online support groups have popped up on Facebook and other social media platforms where healthy volunteers are helping the not so fortunate or healthy. Grocery shopping, errand running, sharing of provisions and factual information; these do-gooders have been awesome.

Family Time

With many parents forced to work from home while schools and daycares are closed, families have been spending more time together. Whether we are self-isolating, self-quarantined or practicing social distancing, spending time with our families is currently the thing to do. Hectic schedules have been shut down with no running to and from jobs, errands and extra-curricular activities. What a concept! Games, puzzles, home movies, and family dinners are suddenly popular again. What a shame it took something like a nasty virus to bring these examples of quality time to light. Hopefully we can remember to schedule some of these irreplaceable moments into our lives when the restrictions are lifted and our lives return to normal.

Fresh Air, Sunshine & Exercise

One of the luxuries we have been allowed and encouraged to do with the isolation and social distancing practices is to get out into the great outdoors to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and exercise. Science has proven that these freebies are key to staying healthy. If you didn’t already know or appreciate this, you may be learning it during this crisis.

Huawei Worries: Are They Warranted?

Huawei logo

Huawei is a HUGE manufacturer of technology components, (reportedly) capable of “invading” the industry globally. The problem is, they are based in China whose government has relationships with the rest of the world on shaky ground these days.

Why Worry?

Morning Brew, my newest addiction, has listed five (potential) reasons (from the MIT Technology Review) in today’s edition:

Kill switches: Huawei builds networks carrying data for power grids, financial markets, etc. And some fear the Chinese government could sneak “back doors” into Huawei’s gear with the ability to weaken or disable networks in foreign countries if a crisis occurred.

Data snooping: Chinese spies could theoretically gain access to Huawei’s networks undetected to extract sensitive info from people and businesses. Another possible avenue for espionage? Smartphones—Huawei’s one of the top manufacturers in the world.

The 5G rollout: The next generation of wireless networks is arriving fast…and the last thing the U.S. wants is for Huawei to connect the world with 5G. As the authors note, “This will dramatically expand the number of connected devices—and the chaos that can be caused if the networks supporting them are hacked.”

Defying U.S. trade rules: Huawei’s CFO is accused of tricking American banks into doing business with Iran, which would be a violation of U.S. sanctions. More of that activity could happen.

Chinese government influence: The U.S. and allies suspect Huawei’s execs are cozy with the Chinese government, which is the reason they’ve taken such a hard stance. 

Making headlines around the world last week, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who just happens to be the daughter of the founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada for reason #4 above.  After all, Canada is one of the USA’s allies and is (should be) equally concerned for the same list of reasons.

What do you think?