The World Heath Organization is launching another investigation into the origins of Coronavirus. After previous investigations, probed unsuccessful.
“A new team of about 20 scientists — including specialists in laboratory safety and biosecurity and geneticists and animal-disease experts versed in how viruses spill over from nature — is being assembled with a mandate to hunt for new evidence in China and elsewhere,” WSJ revealed September 26, citing unnamed W.H.O. officials, Western diplomats, and information gleaned from official W.H.O. notices.
A CIA report has stated it believes China threatened the WHO to downplay the Coronavirus outbreak. They say that in the crucial weeks, in mid-January, when the Coronavirus began to spread across the globe, China threatened the WHO, saying they would not cooperate in any investigations into Coronavirus. In the meantime China were stockpiling medical supplies, including PPE, some of which manufactured in the US.
The report has not been published. However, the contents of report, entitled ‘U.N.-China: WHO Mindful But Not Beholden to China,’ were confirmed to Newsweek by two U.S. intelligence officials.
The German intelligence agency have also accused the Chinese leader Xi Jinping of personally pressurising WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The German Federal Intelligence Service ‘Bundesnachrichtendienst’ BND said: ‘On January 21, China’s leader Xi Jinping asked WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.
‘The BND estimates that China’s information policy lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide’.
The World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International importance on January 30th.
Rudy Giuliani questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci’s involvement in grants that the U.S. made to the lab in Wuhan, China, which has been linked to the Coronavirus outbreak.
There is growing evidence that points the finger to the laboratory as the source of the deadly outbreak. Giuliani has made his comments during an interview. He also called on a full investigation to be made into the Wuhan investigation.
“Back in 2014, the Obama administration prohibited the U.S. from giving any money to any laboratory, including in the U.S., that was fooling around with these viruses. Prohibited! Despite that, Dr. Fauci gave $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory — and then even after the State Department issued reports about how unsafe that laboratory was, and how suspicious they were in the way they were developing a virus that could be transmitted to humans,” he claimed.
He added, “We never pulled that money. So, something here is going on, John. I don’t want to make any accusations. But there was more knowledge about what was going on in China with our scientific people than they disclosed to us when this first came out. Just think of it: If this laboratory turns out to be the place where the virus came from, we paid for it. We paid for the damn virus that’s killing us.
Dr Fauci has been the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
MSNBC news anchor Nicolle Wallace has said that the “silver lining” of the Coronavirus pandemic is that it will hurt Donald Trump.
“There is something both tragic, and pathetic, and ironic about the fact that it took a, you know, color-blind, gender-blind, you know, state-line-blind virus to sort of have all of the president’s sins from his first three years catch up with him,” Wallace began during a panel discussion. “You can’t stand there and lie. You can’t contradict your scientists because they’re the ones that stand at 66 and 68 percent public trust, not you. He’s down at 38 percent. Pence is lower than him.”
She continued, “I mean, he needs those people whether he likes what they say or not and I wonder what you think about whether or not there’s some silver lining there, that some of the things that, that we’ve been talking about for three years may be finally catching up with him?”
For three nights violence has flared up between youths and police in the northern suburbs of Paris. The violence has been caused by the growing tensions in the strict lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus. An “explosive cocktail” of poverty, harsh police tactics, unemployment, the health crisis has worsening has led to the violence.
The neighbourhood has seen much violence in recent years. The area has a high African and North African population. Young black men are more likely to be stopped and searched by police, resulting a culture of animosity and distrust.
“When there are people out in the streets, police abuses are less likely to go unnoticed,” a local social worker explains. “But with residents locked up at home, the police have become more violent and arbitrary.”
He adds: “Of course, most officers do their work conscientiously. But it only takes a few bad apples eager to settle scores for things to get out of hand very fast.”
The poorer suburbs of Paris have been hit particularly hard by Covid-19. As health care provision is poorer in these areas. Residents are angry as it is workers from these working class areas who have kept the city functioning. Many wealthy Parisians have fled the city, or are working from home.
“Nurses, cashiers, caregivers, street cleaners, security agents, delivery men… Basically all the people who prop up the country today, all those who hold the front line and put themselves in danger, they come from the working-class districts, from [Seine-Saint-Denis]!” said Stéphane Peu, a local communist lawmaker, in an interview with Le Monde.
Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health has outlines the plans to develop a broad-based infrastructure consisting of testing, and contact tracing to control the spread of Coronavirus once the President reopens the country.
“Let me put it into context: All of the testing that we’ve done thus far is testing for the virus in your nose or nasopharynx, meaning you’re actively infected with the virus,” Giroir said when asked about the testing scaling up especially on the serological side. “The antibody test will get us an idea of if you have been infected in the past and are presumably—not 100 percent certain but probably by all known medical computation—that you would be immune to getting the virus again at least in the intermediate term. It is an important component, but it is not really the whole foundation of where we’re going. I call it a component because it will tell us who had the virus and give us a good sort of understanding of what happened, but we still expect only a minority of people will have had the virus and have recovered from it. The outer estimates—and again we don’t know—maybe it’s as much as five or ten percent in some places, and that’s going to be very important to know who those five or ten percent of people are both for themselves and others, but it’s not the total solution.
“To get everyone back together, and I’m sorry to be geeky; it’s very important to have a number of things in place,” Giroir said. “Number one, surveillance. So is this virus circulating in the country? Right now, I think we had 22,000 new cases yesterday. But as it gets lower, sort of is it circulating and where is it circulating? This is apparent from both testing and what the CDC says would be syndromic surveillance, like if you come in with a cough and a fever and influenza-like illness. This is a very good system to understand. In the summer, if you see people like that, it’s not flu—it’s going to be COVID-19. The second component is actively testing people with symptoms. That’s what we’re doing now. But we need it on a sort of generally available sort of scale. It depends on how many cases there are. If there’s 20,000 cases, or let’s say there’s 10,000 cases a day in the U.S., then you need 10,000 tests and you probably need to oversample. For every positive test, you want five to ten negative tests. So, then for every positive person you’re going to contact trace four to five people. So that’s kind of the milieu of what happens—surveillance, testing, and contact tracing is really defining it, plus the antibody on the other side. As I said last week, we are going to have for a test—we’re going to be in the range of the number of tests that we need to do this in a very short period of time, just a few weeks.”
The big tech giants Apple and Google are teaming up to help develop technology to contact users if they have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19.
Initially they hope to work with third party apps.
However, they hope the need for users to download an app will not be needed as users will be encouraged to have such a feature as standard.
They hope to use bluetooth technology to trace who a person has been in contact with, how close and for how long. This data would then determine the risk that a person could have contracted the virus.
However, many are alarmed at the privacy concerns us technology poses.
“Privacy, transparency and consent are of utmost importance in this effort and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” Apple and Google said in a joint statement.
“We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyse.”
President Trump said his administration needed time to consider the development.
“It’s very interesting, but a lot of people worry about it in terms of a person’s freedom,” he said during a White House press conference.
“We’re going to take… a very strong long at it, and we’ll let you know pretty soon.”
The President has written to governors in every local region to put forward guidelines to help each county access the risk of Coronavirus for them. The President is keen to enable low risk regions of the country to operate with less strict restrictions, as soon as possible.
“This is what we envision: Our expanded testing capabilities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus,” Trump wrote.
Each county would be given a federal category: “high risk”, “medium risk” or “low risk”. The categories would be given after all the data for these regions was accessed.
“I want to thank each of you, along with your frontline responders and essential workers, for stepping up to help America confront this unprecedented global pandemic,” Trump wrote.
President Trump has said that he’d like to see the economy restarted by Easter. Saying, “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
The President has also said that the “cure cannot be worse” than the disease. Indicating that steps to halt the Coronavirus have to be weighed against the harm it will do to the American economy.
However, top officials have tempered the President’s positive outlook warning that this crisis could continue for many weeks to come. The task force has said that decisions around lifting restrictions will be taken at a later date by looking at all the fresh data available.
In 30 days the global economy has been brought to the brink of depression. In February the DOW was soaring at record highs and the U.S. economy was in the midst of its greatest economic expansion in history.
A global recession for 2020 was all but unthinkable.
Now the U.S. government is set to inject $1trillion into the U.S. economy to stop mass lay offs, and the U.K. government has agreed to pay 80% of the nation’s wages. As economies are grinding to a halt across the globe the affects of Covid-19 could be hear for a long time.
As the pandemic continues experts are now thinking how it will shape the world once the health emergency has ended. Many think the world will see major shifts in global supply chains and how global trade is conducted.
Many have been warning the West about the threat of a global pandemic. In 2013 the World Bank said, “A severe pandemic would resemble a global war in its sudden, profound, and widespread impact”
70 million people across America’s mostly densely populated states are preparing for lock down. New York and Illinois are expected to follow California, in restricting residents to their homes.
Hospitals are already facing the strain of Covid-19, and health officials are desperately trying to avoid a repeat of what has happened in Italy and Spain.
Northern Italy is still in the grips of an out of control spread of Coronavirus. With the health care system unable to cope with the shear numbers of sick and dying.
President Trump addressed the nation saying:
“Every American has a role to play in defending our nation from this invisible, horrible enemy.
“It really is an invisible enemy – and we will be successful, hopefully very much sooner than people would think.
“So we say stay at home and save lives. It is a time of shared national sacrifice but it’s also a time to treasure our loved ones and to take stock of what is most important; our faith, our families, our neighbours and our great country.
“I want to thank all of the incredible people, the citizens of our country.”
The U.S. government are reportedly considering ordering tech companies to hand over data to monitor if people are complying with social distancing guidelines during the Coronavirus pandemic.
According the NBC
Federal health officials say they could use anonymous, aggregated user data collected by the tech companies to map the spread of the virus — a practice known as “syndromic surveillance” — and prevent further infections. They could also use the data to see whether people were practicing “social distancing.”
Some sources stressed that the effort would be anonymized and that government would not have access to specific individuals’ locations. They noted that users would be required to opt-in to the effort.
The federal effort, first reported by The Washington Post, will force the tech giants to weigh their commitments to user privacy against their desire to help combat a disease that has cost thousands of human lives and upended the global economy.
Google confirmed that it is looking at how anonymous aggregated user data could be used in the fight against Covid-19. Saying they are, “exploring ways that aggregated anonymized location information could help in the fight against COVID-19. One example could be helping health authorities determine the impact of social distancing, similar to the way we show popular restaurant times and traffic patterns in Google Maps.”
The most prodigious of the film festivals- Cannes- is to be postponed this year. Organisers have said that until the Coronavirus is under control in France will the make a decision.
“Several hypotheses are being studied to preserve the festival, the main one of which would be a simple postponement,” the festival said in a statement. “As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known.”
Already South by Southwest and the Tribeca Film Festivals have been cancelled. But the industry hopes that Cannes will survive as it is closer to summer.