IVF and low-risk elective surgery to begin again as National Cabinet ditches coronavirus ban – ABC News

Scott Morrison says elective surgeries, including IVF, joint replacement, cataracts, breast reconstruction and dental procedures, can begin again after the Anzac Day long weekend.
— Read on mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-21/coroanvirus-national-cabinet-elective-surgery-ivf-to-resume/12168770

And if new spikes in infections and deaths result, what then?

Trump Extorting Governors to Kill Their Own Citizens

Democrats have been trying to get money for state and local governments in the next round of relief spending. Trump (like congressional Republicans) is opposed because he wants to coerce states into engaging in the same kind of homicidal mania Brian Kemp is engaging in:

President Trump’s current pandemic strategy — emphasize current; like the cliché about the weather, if you don’t like it, wait a few hours — is a baffling knot of contradictions. He is hurling all responsibility to state governments, leaving it to them to devise effective tests and to decide when to relax social distancing.

At the same time, he is starving them of the resources to handle the job. And even as Trump hides behind a policy of deference to governors, he is goading right-wing protesters to force their hand. Trump is “saying things that seem contradictory,” as the New York Times puts it, “like pledging to work with governors and then urging people to ‘liberate’ their states, and leaving it to his audiences to hear what they want to hear in his words.”

Yet there does appear to be a strategy here. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday afternoon that Trump has “asked White House aides for economic response plans that would allow him to take credit for successes while offering enough flexibility to assign fault for any failures to others.” Trump’s seemingly paradoxical stance is an attempt to hoard credit and shirk risk, straddling the demands of his business allies with the pleas of his public-health advisers. On the surface, he is deferring responsibility and blame to the governors. Just below the surface, he is coercing them to resume economic activity as fast as possible, regardless of what public-health officials say.

Trump’s plan to coerce the states into reopening has at least three discernible elements. The first is, or was, the formation of a task force to reopen the country. The purpose of the council was to give Trump cover. The council would prod governors to reopen businesses, and because it would be seen as coming from the business community, Trump himself would not bear the blame for future outbreaks that might result. As the Washington Post reported last week, “Trump’s advisers are trying to shield the president from political accountability should his move to reopen the economy prove premature and result in lost lives, and so they are trying to mobilize business executives, economists and other prominent figures to buy into the eventual White House plan, so that if it does not work, the blame can be shared broadly, according to two former administration officials familiar with the efforts.” (In part because its purpose was so naked, the task force seems to have collapsed.)

The second element is the mobilization of protests. The appearance of flag-waving and sometimes gun-toting demonstrators in a handful of state capitols this weekend seems to have come as a shock to the news media, but Trump’s allies signaled this was coming. Last Monday, Stephen Moore, a right-wing pseudo-economist and close Trump ally who has spent weeks pushing back on public-health guidelines, was quoted in the press saying, “In the next two weeks, you’ll see protests in the streets of conservatives; you’ll see a big pushback against the lockdown in some states.”

Even on its own terms, this isn’t going to work — there aren’t enough people willing to risk horrible death so they can see X Men v. Jar Jar Binks IV on the big screen for this to actually save the economy, and the inevitable death spikes will hang on Trump. But when you have a president whose time horizon doesn’t stretch beyond the next segment of Fox and Friends on the DVR this is what happens.

China’s live bird markets resurface due to demand

These live markets are known for spreading new flu and the current covid-19. Bad move.


BEIJING • China is reopening some live bird markets in the south of the country because that is the way the locals like their fowl – freshly killed.

“We only buy chicken slaughtered in the markets to ensure that the meat is fresh, and it’s more delicious than the chilled variety sold in supermarkets,” said Ms Rosie Luo, a student from Foshan city in Guangdong province.

While live animal markets are suspected to be the source of the novel coronavirus and some other diseases, the authorities had no choice but to let them reopen because some people refuse to buy their meat anywhere else. And that is important in a year when people need a cheap alternative to pork, which is in short supply because of virus lockdowns and African swine fever.

Poultry consumption in its various forms is rebounding as the country recovers from the coronavirus outbreak. China reported 12 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the lowest since March 13, and no deaths. As of Sunday, mainland China had a total of 82,747 confirmed cases and 4,632 deaths.

Rising poultry consumption is partly down to a plunge in pork production, which fell almost 30 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, as swine fever cut herds and the coronavirus lockdowns disrupted transport and labour.

Worsening pork shortages should push up demand for chicken as sales of fast food, such as burgers, delivered to people’s homes and of chilled meat in supermarkets are seen rising, according to general manager Kong Pingtao at the agriculture industry portal www.boyar.cn.

Poultry producers are responding. Wens Foodstuffs Group, the country’s largest breeder, said chicken sales rose 18 per cent in March from a year earlier as consumption recovered from the coronavirus lockdown. Sales of baby chicks by Shandong Yisheng Livestock and Poultry Breeding were up almost 30 per cent.

Back in the live bird markets, the agriculture ministry asked some provinces last month to reopen them gradually to help poultry production recover. Eight provinces, including Guangdong, the top chicken consuming area, have done so, though most are still closed, according to an industry survey.

Some local governments, including Fujian, Guizhou and Chongqing, have shuttered their markets indefinitely, according to media reports.

“Most live bird markets will eventually disappear, but it will be difficult to shut down all the markets across the country,” said Ms Pan Chenjun, a senior livestock analyst with Rabobank. “In some rural areas where consumers have a strong preference for live birds, I would assume they might exist for a longer time.”

The reopening of some markets could revive concern about their role in spreading disease from animals to humans. Research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has shown that live poultry markets are a major source of human infection with avian influenza and their permanent closure should be considered to stop the occurrence of epidemics.



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WHO pushes back on claims as COVID-19 remakes Ramadan | CIDRAP

The WHO pushes back on accusations that it didn’t warn countries early enough.

Source: WHO pushes back on claims as COVID-19 remakes Ramadan | CIDRAP

In an escalation of the tensions, the Taiwan health officials publicized an email it sent the WHO on Dec 31—about the same time ProMED Mail, media outlets, and infectious disease blogs carried reports of a mysterious pneumonia cluster in Wuhan. In the email, Taiwanese officials sought more information about the event.

Mike Ryan, MD, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program…said on Jan 1, the WHO asked China for more information, according to International Health Regulation protocols that require countries to respond within 24 to 48 hours. He said the WHO sent its first Tweet about the outbreak on Jan 4, and on Jan 5 it communicated detailed information to its focal point system, which includes Taiwan. Also on Jan 5, it posted its first public outbreak notice on the Wuhan cluster.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot rips Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for reopening beaches: ‘God help us all’ – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ripped Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, saying he has fumbled his state’s response to the coronavirus crisis and criticizing his decision to re-open the Sunshine State’s beaches by saying: “God help us all.”
— Read on www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-chicago-florida-beaches-lightfoot-20200420-2h52lsqnaza6zbgrqiq3fwahoi-story.html

Opinion | The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients – The New York Times

There is a way we could identify more patients who have Covid pneumonia sooner and treat them more effectively — and it would not require waiting for a coronavirus test at a hospital or doctor’s office. It requires detecting silent hypoxia early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter. Pulse oximetry is no more complicated than using a thermometer. These small devices turn on with one button and are placed on a fingertip. In a few seconds, two numbers are displayed: oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Pulse oximeters are extremely reliable in detecting oxygenation problems and elevated heart rates. Pulse oximeters helped save the lives of two emergency physicians I know, alerting them early on to the need for treatment. When they noticed their oxygen levels declining, both went to the hospital and recovered (though one waited longer and required more treatment). Detection of hypoxia, early treatment and close monitoring apparently also worked for Boris Johnson, the British prime minister. Widespread pulse oximetry screening for Covid pneumonia — whether people check themselves on home devices or go to clinic

10 Reasons Stalin Might Be Worse Than Hitler

A Brief History

On June 11, 1937, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin had 8 of his top army generals executed as part of The Great Purge.  From 1934 to 1940 Stalin had vast numbers of government, party, and army officials murdered to satisfy his paranoid delusions that everyone was out to get him.  This left his military in bad shape when war came, stripped of many of its most capable officers, but just another day for “The Man of Steel.”  Stalin was a bad person indeed, and although Hitler is generally regarded as the most evil man in historyUncle Joe gives him a run for his money.  Who else do you think is as bad or worse than Hitler?

Digging Deeper

10. The Great Purge, 1934-1940.
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As stated above, Stalin was a paranoid that ruthlessly clung to power.  In order to upset any budding power bases or alliances that might work against him, he went on a spree of executing, imprisoning, and firing many officials at many levels, especially the highest levels.  With the military, it is shocking to see the facts:  Officers removed from office one way or another: 3 of 5 Marshalls, 8 of 9 Admirals, 13 of 15 Army Commanders, 50 of 57 Corps Commanders, 16 of 16 Army Commissars, and 25 of 28 Corps Commissars.  His stripping of the military leadership cost the Soviets dearly when they tried to invade Finland and when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

9.  Purge of Intelligentsia, 1920-1940.
Pianist Khadija Gayibova, executed in 1938, was one of among at least 2000 of the best and brightest minds in the Soviet Union who were sent to prisons where at least 1500 of them died.  Writers, poets, philosophers and playwrights were jailed for producing anything other than pure propaganda, astronomers were jailed for studying sun spots, and weathermen were jailed for failing to make accurate predictions!  Scientists and engineers that failed to solve problems according to Stalin’s schedule were also purged, especially during the war.

8.  Wife’s Suicide/Murder, 1932.
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Stalin was a bad father and a bad husband.  One of his sons shot himself and lived, causing Stalin to complain, “He can’t even shoot.”  When that son was captured by the Germans, Stalin refused a trade for a German general and his son died.  At a dinner in 1932 where Stalin and his wife argued, Stalin was seen flicking cigarettes at her (quite classy) and later that night she either committed suicide or was murdered by Stalin.  (Hitler’s wife committed suicide with him and Hitler’s previous lovers also committed suicide. What a coincidence!)

7.  Self-Serving Relations with China, 1940-1953.
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Stalin at first betrayed his fellow communists in China by supporting Chiang Kai Shek instead of Mao tse Tung and the communists, because he believed that Chiang had a better chance of keeping the Japanese from invading Siberia, and he ignored the mass murder of communists by Chiang.  Stalin further hurt the Chinese communists by supporting the Turkic Muslims in their quest for an independent state. By 1950, when it was prudent to do so, Stalin became best buddies with China and now had a major ally in the Cold War.  In a similar manner, Stalin at first supported the creation of Israel and then later withdrew his support.  For the most part, Stalin was another anti-Semite at heart.

6.  Scorched Earth Policy, 1941-1943.
Absolutely uncaring about his own population, Stalin ordered everything in the path of advancing Germans to be burned, leaving no food or useful supplies of any type for them.  Of course, this policy was hard on the peasants who lost everything, and led to more starvation.

5.  Shooting and Imprisoning Soldiers, 1941-1945.
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Just as Hitler was killing his own people left and right for “defeatism,” Stalin gave orders to shoot deserting or unauthorized retreating troops on sight.  He went so far as to set up “blocking detachments” to gun down troops fleeing from the front.  In this time frame, well over 400,000 soldiers were sent to “penal battalions” where they would be deployed in areas almost certain to get them killed.

4.  Katyn Massacre, 1940.
After stabbing Poland in the back by invading after the Polish military was completely engaged with the Nazi invasion, Stalin took his big chunk of Poland for himself.  In early 1940 on Stalin’s personal orders, over 25,000 of Poland’s best military officers were executed.  When the Soviets retook Poland in 1944 the Soviets pretended the Nazis had committed the atrocity.  The Soviets finally admitted guilt in 1990.

3.  Censorship and Propaganda, 1924-1953.
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During the entire tenure of Stalin’s reign no free press or freedom of much of anything was enjoyed in the Soviet Union or any country controlled by it.  People were bombarded with government propaganda and denied access to information or cultural influences from other (western) countries.  Just as Hitler and the Nazis, Stalin and the Soviets jailed or killed anyone that spoke contrary to his preferred viewpoint.

2.  The Iron Curtain, 1945-1991.
After World War II Stalin failed to live up to the understanding that European countries would have the right of self determination and he imposed the rule of the Soviet Union upon them.  Making these countries have communist governments whether the people wanted it or not, and restricting movement in or out of the “communist bloc” made this mass of people little more than slaves, creating an even bigger Soviet empire than that of before the war.   

1.  Starvation of the Ukraine, 1932-1933.
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Hitler is notorious for killing as many as 6 million Jews and another 5 million assorted people, but in the Holodomor, intentional starvation of the Ukraine Stalin killed as many as 7.5 million Ukrainians.  (Added with his other murders and genocides this definitely puts him in Hitler’s class.)  Although the Ukraine is considered the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union where the most productive farms are, the food produced was removed for residents of other parts of the country and Ukrainians were left to starve.  The widespread and horrible scale of the starvation led people to eat the dead, and 2500 were convicted of cannibalism.  The independence minded people of the Ukraine were starved into submission, pure and simple. Soviet propaganda denied the famine for many years, refusing to admit Stalin’s psychotic willingness to kill people or allow the world to think people in the “workers’ paradise” could possibly starve.  Soviet propaganda also insidiously spread into western countries with false messages that the famine was natural and not planned.   After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian and Ukrainian officials were somewhat more forthcoming, but the issue remains a hot topic between Russia and Ukraine.

Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Bullock, Alan.  Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives.  Vintage Books, 1993.