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COVID-19 Update 10, May 10

This update is dedicated to my friends Jean Smith and John Valleau, life long workers for peace and justice.

UN News, April 14: “Hatred going viral in a dangerous epidemic of misinformation.”

* hatred against the Chinese * Chinese hatred against Blacks in China * hatred against immigrants and refugees in many places * hatred against trans people in Hungary and against people of different sexual orientations in many places * hatred expressed as family violence in homes all over * hatred promoted by well rewarded professional hate mongers in the reflecting cesspool of social media * man wears KKK hood as face covering to a store in a small town in California and refuses to remove it * …

It is always the Other that brought the plague. It is the Other that is the plague.

My parents’ lives were nearly destroyed by hate. Jewish, they ran away from Warsaw to Lviv in the USSR where they married in 1940 and were promptly separated. Father conscripted into the Red Army survived great deprivations and the decisive battle of Stalingrad. Mother, armed with fake papers and fluent knowledge of German survived in the heart of the Reich pretending not to be Jewish, first in Warsaw then elsewhere. Most of their families were killed in the camps together with Roma and Gay people. It is the Other that is the plague.

Warsaw, the city of my birth, was a monument to hate. The level of destruction at the end of the war in 1945 was like Hiroshima’s. In the 1950s as children we were constantly warned of unexploded bombs on construction sites. Some boys failed to heed and lost life or limb.

The Ontario government is being transparent about data from LTC institutions. In contrast, the Quebec government is trying to hide the information. This has been posted on their official COVID-19 site for 10 days or more:

The document Situation in living environments for the elderly and vulnerable is under review. The next data will be presented on a daily rather than a cumulative basis. This adjustment will give us a better picture of outbreaks in living environments and will facilitate their monitoring. This new document will be made soon.


Living environments. No. Dying environments.

Information about LTC institutions is available from a publicly available spreadsheet created by journalist Nora Loreto. Thank you Nora. As of 23:00, May 8, the number of LTC deaths was 3696 – 80.9% of Canada’s total of 4567. 18 institutions have death tolls of 40 and more – 10 in Quebec, 7 in Ontario and 1 in Nova Scotia.

May 7, Human Rights Watch reported that Egypt’s government is using COVID-19 “as cover for new repressive powers … expanding Egypt’s abusive Emergency Law.”

April 15, Al-Monitor reported that in Egypt “… victims of the disease have been stigmatized. Rejection by their communities could hinder the provision of medical care and prevent the disclosure of potential COVID-19 infections, both factors that could increase infection rates.”

In spite of an early and comprehensive response to the pandemic, new infection rates are high in Peru with the number of cases second only to Brazil in South America. About 80% of the cases are in the capital city of Lima where two of the ten million people have no access to water and sewage services. Food markets, where many shoppers do not have masks or practice distancing, have become the main sources of contagion.

In an editorial, the Lancet described Bolsonaro as “perhaps the biggest threat to Brazil’s ability to fight the pandemic … as the country reported its highest daily rate of new cases.”

May 8, the Guardian reports that “The Navajo Nation has the third highest per capita infection rate in the US after New York and New Jersey but only a fraction of the resources.”

CNN, May 8: Staten Island, NY, nurse accused of stealing, using credit card from her dying COVID-19 patient.

CNN, May 7: In comparison to white people in the UK 4.3 times as many Black women and 4.2 times as many Black men die of COVID-19.

For a number of reasons including poverty, pre-existing conditions and racism, the virus kills African Americans at a much higher rate than other populations. In Louisiana, 71% of deaths had occurred among Blacks who represent 32% of the state’s population.

The Guardian, May 10: “Under Trump American exceptionalism means poverty, misery and death” Robert Reich.

The Council of Canadians: Several COVID-19 outbreaks at tar sands work camps all traceable to a work camp north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Shut down the work camps now !

Quebec has done poorly against COVID-19 and the health care system is stretched, in some areas overwhelmed.

Toronto Star, April 21, “COVID-19 exposes the hypocrisy of face covering in Quebec. As much of the world dons face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canada’s Supreme Court refused to suspend a law banning Muslims women’s religious face coverings in Quebec.” Tasha Stansbury

In an early update I described the Canadian curve of contagion as gloriously flat. Now that it is going down, steeper would be better. Canada’s mortality rate is climbing faster than Germany’s.

The news is finally better for the UK, not so for Russia.

In Georgia, Texas and Florida where there has been a marked relaxation in virus containment rules for two weeks or so the numbers remain low for now. Georgia’s mortality and infection rates are higher than Canada’s.

The pandemic is moving south of the Equator, where there is far less of everything needed – water, sanitation, health care, proper shelter, proper nutrition, adequate security… There is much suffering in South America with mass graves in Guayaquil, Ecuador and Manaus, sadly with much more pain to come. The worst is yet to come for Africa.

Several of you sent me very kind emails. Thank you.

AP, Toronto, May 10, 10:30


Andrew Pakula is a long time peace activist and has been a member of Science for Peace from the very beginning. He is a retired social research and management consultant with a background in social psychology.

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