New World Disorder: UnUnited Nations
April 10, 2020
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Image via Getty Images
In addition to death and economic destruction, the coronavirus pandemic is causing a global bidding war in which poorer countries lose out. Competition between the US and EU countries for scarce medical supplies has driven prices through the roof. While wealthy nations can pay triple market price to outbid each other, scientists in Africa and Latin America are told by manufacturers that orders for vital testing kits cannot be filled for months, because the supply chain is in upheaval and almost everything they produce is going to America or Europe.
There’s a war going on behind the scenes, creating new distortions in the private market and invoking accusations of “modern piracy” against governments trying to secure supplies for their own people. President Trump made his trade adviser Peter Navarro policy coordinator for the Defense Production Act, giving him expansive authority over multinational firms and their global supply chains. Navarro is marshaling American industry to procure face masks, ventilators and other products US hospitals need to fight the virus. He also has sweeping authority not only to order products, but to block exports and claim goods made overseas by subsidiaries of American companies. He can even seize products from hoarders and price gougers.
For poorer countries, the competition for resources is catastrophic. Far fewer cases of infection and death from Covid-19 are being reported in the developing world, primarily because those nations’ doctors cannot get testing supplies. Currently Brazil is the hardest hit country in Latin America, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases, but with a testing backlog of 23,000. Additional read: Coronavirus threat to global peace and stability, UN chief warns (Guardian)
Poverty Grows In The Shadows Of Covid
- Oxfam, a confederation of 19 independent charitable organizations focusing on alleviating global poverty, reports that the coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion people into poverty. Using research by the Australian National University and Kings College in London, the charity says it will be the first time poverty has risen worldwide in 30 years.
- “The economic crisis is potentially going to be even more severe than the health crisis,” the report warns. “Our findings point towards the importance of a dramatic expansion of social safety nets in developing countries as soon as possible and … what the international community can do to help,” said one of the report’s contributors.
- By the end of the pandemic half the world’s population of 7.8 billion people could be living in poverty, with nearly 40 percent of the new poor concentrated in East Asia and the Pacific, and a third in both Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. (BBC)
Sean Gallup via Getty Images
If You Can’t Handle The Covid, Stay Out Of The Disease Kitchen
- Stanford University researchers focusing on contact between humans and primates in western Uganda say their findings hold lessons for a world currently reeling from the coronavirus outbreak and searching for strategies to prevent the next global pandemic.
- One of the study’s conclusions is that the destruction of forests is increasing the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans. “Covid has taught us that once a pandemic starts, it’s very hard to control,” said the study’s lead author. “If we can decrease the potential for people to come into contact with wild animals, [we can] decrease the likelihood of having recurrent pandemics.”
- More than a third of Earth’s land has already been claimed by humans for agricultural use. In the Amazon and Indonesia, virgin rainforest is burned to farm soy, palm oil, and cattle. Under President Jair Bolsonaro’s leadership, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has risen sharply. The destruction of tropical forests at record rates each year puts humans in ever closer contact with wild animals who’ve lost their habitats.
- The US has its own example of an animal-borne disease linked to patchwork woodlands close to suburban and rural communities: Lyme disease, which spreads from wildlife to humans via ticks. (NYT)
- Wuhan Is Returning to Life. So Are Its Disputed Wet Markets (Bloomberg)
- How did coronavirus start and where did it come from? Was it really Wuhan’s animal market? (Guardian)
- The Pandemic Can’t Lock Down Nature: The wilderness offers not just escape but reassurance. (Nautilus)
Additional World News
- Saudi, Russia outline record oil cut under U.S. pressure as demand crashes (Reuters)
- China signals end to dog meat consumption by humans (Guardian)
- In Kabul’s Heart, Soviet Towers Harbor Decades of Tales (NYT, $)
- Iraq Names Another Prime Minister in Third Attempt to Form Government (WSJ, $) I wonder if Iraqis prefer Saddam Hussein over the roughly past two decades of chaos they have experienced.
- China’s Coronavirus Battle Is Waning. Its Propaganda Fight Is Not. (NYT)
- The cluster effect: how social gatherings were rocket fuel for coronavirus (Guardian)
- Coronavirus: New York has more cases than any country (BBC)
- New York man fleeing pandemic pays almost $2m to rent Hamptons hideout (Guardian)
- Coronavirus outbreak gives public health in China the push it needs (CNBC)
- Ecuador Gives Glimpse Into Pandemic’s Impact on Latin America (NYT)
- NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonauts launch to the space station during a pandemic (CNN)
- Amsterdam to embrace ‘doughnut’ model to mend post-coronavirus economy (Guardian)
- ‘A disastrous situation’: mountains of food wasted as coronavirus scrambles supply chain (Guardian)
COVID-19 & Finance
- US shares see their biggest weekly gain in 46 years (BBC) (Don’t sell low or buy high as we’ve been saying but the economic forecasts do look dreary)
- The United States is already in a recession, 45 economists say (CNN)
- Airlines and TSA report 96% drop in air travel as pandemic continues (CNN)
- Jobs Carnage Mounts: 17 Million File For Unemployment In 3 Weeks (NPR)
- As many of our readers know, Daily Pnut is an independent publisher that is part of Media Mobilize, a small business. Here’s a message to our fellow small business owners: If you’ve been keeping up with Daily Pnut, you’re very aware of the United States’ attempt to combat the economic downturn from Covid-19 with the signing of the CARES act.
- Like us, you are probably eagerly awaiting your stimulus check, but did you know that if you’re a small business owner, you should act now to get your relief funds? The CARES Act provided nearly $350 billion towards the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses—but the funds are first-come, first-served.
- Divvy has partnered with Cross River Bank to build a 100% digital loan application—helping you get as close to the front of the line as possible.
- With Divvy, this process can take days instead of weeks. If you submit your PPP loan application with Divvy, you can receive your funds within 72 hours with Divvy’s team helping you every step of the way.
Red-State-Alert, Red-State-Alert: People Might Actually Be Able To Vote
- In March President Trump said efforts to make it easier to vote would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” He was at it again Wednesday morning, tweeting: “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting.” He resurrected the old canard that mailing in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud, or whatever, and even so it just “doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”
- Voter fraud in the US is extremely rare, but Republicans have long used it to justify restrictions on voting rights. At Tuesday’s briefing Trump defended the fact that he voted by mail in Florida’s March primary, saying it was acceptable for him to do it because he was out of the state.
- “I’m allowed to,” he said. “There’s a big difference between somebody that’s out of state and does a ballot and everything is sealed, certified and everything else.” The statement was nonsensical because Florida allows people to vote by mail regardless of whether they’re in the state or not.
- Trump’s comments were made on the same day Wisconsin Republicans forced a statewide election to be held in-person, despite the public health risk of coronavirus. (Guardian)
- Trump’s case against mail-in voting has become increasingly desperate. His latest briefing showed it. (Vox)
- Inside Wisconsin’s Election Mess: Thousands of Missing or Nullified Ballots (NYT, $)
- Yes, Wisconsin Republicans used the pandemic to stop people from voting (Guardian)
- American Democracy May Be Dying: Authoritarian rule may be just around the corner. (NYT, $)
Additional USA News
- Biden finally has an open field. Now he faces a deeply uncertain election (Guardian)
- Fauci Says U.S. Coronavirus Deaths May Be ‘More Like 60,000’; Antibody Tests On Way (NPR)
- Here’s the silver lining in the CNN poll for Donald Trump Chris Cillizza (CNN)
- With Warship Coronavirus Cases Rising, Concerns Over Military Readiness (NPR)
Have Your Peeps Call My Peeps
- Old fashioned phone calls have been going out of style for years, but they’ve made a comeback thanks to the pandemic. The nation’s biggest telecommunications providers prepared for a huge uptick in home internet use. But they didn’t expect an even bigger surge in plain old voice calls.
- It seems people who’ve been confined at home long to hear other people’s voices.
- Since 2000 some 90 million wired phone lines in the US have ceased using landline phones. Wireless calls replaced much of that calling activity; then that was mostly replaced by texting and apps like FaceTime and What’sApp.
- Verizon said it was handling an average of 800 million wireless calls a day during the week, more than double the number made on Mother’s Day. “We’ve become a nation that calls like never before,” said a commissioner at the FCC, which oversees phone, television and internet providers. “We are craving human voice.” (NYT)
- Webcams have become impossible to find, and prices are skyrocketing (The Verge)
- How coronavirus has transformed the way we communicate (BBC)
- Additional song: Adele – Hello & Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/Jenny
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