The Guardian hyperventilates as follows regarding Ecuador.
‘They’re leaving us to die’: Ecuadorians’ plead for help as virus blazes deadly trail
Dead bodies kept in homes or dumped on roadsides as authorities and hospitals are overwhelmed by Covid-19 in Andean nation’s second city
It has been three days since Reynaldo Barrezueta passed away at his home in Ecuador’s biggest city – and still his body lies in a coffin on the sitting room floor.
“The authorities are just leaving us to die,” said his son, Eduardo Javier Barrezueta Chávez, who has spent the last 72 hours pleading with authorities remove his father’s corpse – so far to no avail.
Barrezueta is not alone. In recent days the coronavirus has swept into Guayaquil with deadly force, overwhelming local authorities, funeral homes and hospitals and leaving families such as his facing unthinkable horrors.
Photographs and video footage emerging from this crisis-stricken coastal city look like images from the aftermath of a natural disaster: bodies wrapped in sheets and dumped on the roadside or outside houses; desperate families begging for help after being forced to keep their loved-ones corpses at home for days in temperatures of more than 30C.
Good grief!! What has gone terribly wrong in Ecuador? Let us head over to worldometers for some stats regarding this terrible situation.
Total deaths: 172
Deaths over the last 5 days in chronological order: 4, 17, 19, 22, 25.
Does that seem like something that would overwhelm a country of 17.3M people? In 2013, the last year for which the records are available, Ecuador recorded 3,164 deaths annually due to traffic accidents. That is an average of 8.7 deaths/day due to traffic accidents.
One of the mysteries regarding the spread of COVID-19 is that the African countries and India have been largely spared. In fact worldometer finds that so far, India has had a total of 332 cases with 5 deaths with the last death being that of a 69-year old Italian tourist. Why is that the case?
A study by University of Maryland, which is referenced in this article states that:
The University of Maryland mapped severe COVID-19 outbreaks with local weather patterns around the world, from the US to China. They found that the virus thrives in a certain temperature and humidity channel. “The researchers found that all cities experiencing significant outbreaks of COVID-19 have very similar winter climates with an average temperature of 41 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit, an average humidity level of 47% to 79% with a narrow east-west distribution along the same 30–50 N” latitude”, said the University of Maryland.
“Based on what we have documented so far, it appears that the virus has a harder time spreading between people in warmer, tropical climates,” said study leader Mohammad Sajadi, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the UMSOM, physician-scientist at the Institute of Human Virology and a member of GVN.
There are two graphs from study that are particularly relevant with the first “image below, the zone at risk for a significant community spread in the near-term includes land areas within the green bands.”
The second image below is of relevance because “as of right now reported cases as a function of latitude, about one-third of the world’s population is below 22.5°N yet has not experienced meaningfully high levels of infections.”
Does the same correlation exist within US, i.e. the virus is more prevalent in the North? Based on the above image one would think so. This study collected the population data from:
The latitude data from the two sites differs slightly with mean difference of 0.21 and standard deviation of 0.81.
If we then divide the data into two bins of above 41N, which includes the states of Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Wyoming, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire, Idaho, Michigan, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Washington, and below 41N, whilst discluding Alaska, you get the following numbers.
Total cases 9,099 Total deaths 127 Total population 249,756,021 Total cases/1M people 36.4 Total deaths/1M people 0.51
Total cases 15,668 Total deaths 161 Total population 77,812,978 Total cases/1M people 201.4 Total deaths/1M people 2.07
The numbers are markedly different. Of course The Economist tries to stoke the fear by stating:
Fears are rising that the world’s second-most populous country might be on the brink of a big covid-19 outbreak. Until now India has been lucky with this coronavirus. It has relatively few visitors from the early centres of the pandemic—China, Italy and Iran. And Indian governments, at both federal and state levels, have been strikingly forceful in their response to the virus, with public-information campaigns saturating the television airwaves, and recorded messages pushed to mobile phones. So the number of Indian cases so far can be counted in the scores. But India has so far tested only a few thousand people, and some experts think it already has thousands or tens of thousands of cases. If so, decades of under-investment in public health have left India ill-prepared, with not enough doctors, beds or equipment for its 1.3bn people even in ordinary times.
Based on the Univ of Maryland study this is unlikely. Of course what it does imply is that the areas below the equator will suffer a similar fate in their winter.
Our paths crossed several times but we never conversed as we really didn’t know each other. Then one day I was in the World Exchange Plaza, where I had parked my car. When I got to the elevator Paul was already standing there to get to his car. That is the first time we spoke and in our conversation he mentioned that he worked on the, not his words, “World Wide Web”. At that time internet was an exotic technology and I didn’t know anybody who worked in that field. I was curious, so I asked him if he could give me a brief introduction to it. Paul was his usual gracious self and invited me to his home office, located above the garage which was separate from the house. He proceeded to tell me how he was working on the website for the Canadian Embassy in Washington. I recall leaving the meeting and us standing on the driveway, where he made several obscure and disparate cultural references which surprised me, but I was soon to learn were central to his character.
As Dalwhinnie noted below, Paul went through some difficult periods which were exacerbated due to medical issues as well as limited career options as he was a trained Kremlinologist. He soldiered on and I think it is fair to state that after a long journey, he was able to vanquish his internal demons. His remunerative work in Regina brought a degree of stability and an active membership in Masons brought him immense joy. It is surprising that it took him that long to join the Masons given his fondness for organizations that are based on strict and formal order, such the Governor General Foot Guards of which he was a part.
The most amazing thing about Paul was his memory and the ability to recall obscure facts, along with wide knowledge of contemporary cultural references, both relevant and irrelevant and lowbrow as well as highbrow. With the right pedigree he could have easily edited a literary magazine. There are not many people who can claim to be able to do that, whilst boasting a complete Chelsea FC tattoo.
If you haven’t followed Star Trek actor George Takei on Twitter, then you are to be congratulated because you haven’t wasted time following his idiotic fulminations. If one is a “celebrity” and “gay”, like Takei, it seems one can say anything with impunity. Now it seems the centre-right has learned the lesson as well, as this latest news shows.
A former model and actor is accusing Star Trek icon George Takei of sexual assault in 1981. The accuser, Scott R. Brunton, who was 23 at the time of the alleged incident, claims that Takei took advantage of him when he was most vulnerable.
“This happened a long time ago, but I have never forgotten it,” Brunton tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “It is one of those stories you tell with a group of people when people are recounting bizarre instances in their lives, this always comes up. I have been telling it for years, but I am suddenly very nervous telling it.”
Isn’t 1981 before the Statute of Limitations of some kind? Who cares about “due process“?!
This past Wednesday, college presidents and Title IX coordinators met on Capitol Hill to discuss the issue of campus sexual assault and what to do under the new Trump administration.
Under the Obama administration, colleges were required to adjudicate accusations of sexual assault in a way that denied due process and the presumption of innocence. While President Donald Trump hasn’t spoken on the issue, the media has stoked fears that his administration will roll back protections for accusers, who are always labeled as “victims.”
One thing that went totally awry in the 2016 US election was the polling. For a campaign like Clinton’,s which was entirely data oriented, this was a death knell. In this campaign it wasn’t just the earlier polls that were wrong, but exit polls as well. Was it media malpractice or something else?
An article in Esquire shares some untold behind-the-scenes stories from the campaign including these about the exit polls.
Bret Baier, Fox News chief political anchor: We got the exit polls at 5 p.m. in a big office on the executive floor. Rupert Murdoch and all the staff were there. It looked like we were going to call the race for Hillary Clinton at 10:30 or 11 p.m.
Steve Bannon: The exit polls were horrific. It was brutal. I think we were close in Iowa and Ohio and everything else was just brutal. Losing everywhere. Florida, Pennsylvania. I mean, it looked like a landslide.
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, Trump’s religious adviser: I called Sean Hannity and said, “I really think he’s going to win tonight.” Sean said, “Well, I’m glad you do, because the exit polls don’t look good.” I found out later that Trump was very pessimistic, too.
Steve Bannon: Jared [Kushner] and I were out on this balcony in Trump Tower. We looked at it on Jared’s iPhone. And the numbers were so bad that we regrouped inside. We look at each other and we go, “This can’t be right. It just can’t.” And Jared goes, “I got an idea, let’s call Drudge.” And Drudge says, “The corporate media—they’ve always been wrong the entire time—these numbers are wrong.” Drudge snapped us out of it, saying, “You guys are a couple of jamokes. Wait until the second exit polls come out, or later.” We called the candidate and told him what the numbers were and what Drudge had said. And then we said, “Hey, ya know, we left it all on the field. Did everything we can do. Let’s just see how it turns out.”
Media malpractice might account for some of the problems, but this survey by CATO Institute highlights how people with center-right political orientation are less willing to share their political opinion and more likely to self-censor. It probably explains why Brexit polling was also wrong.
Earlier the Economist stated the following about the Catalonian independence.
Mr Puigdemont invokes “the legitimate right to self-determination of a thousand-year-old nation”. National and international law is against him. Spain’s constitution of 1978—approved by over 90% of Catalan voters in a referendum—granted the regions great autonomy. But it affirmed “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”. Only the Spanish parliament can change the constitution. Catalonia’s own autonomy statute, which Mr Puigdemont’s law would replace, can only be amended by a two-thirds majority of its parliament. And the Council of Europe, which Mr Puigdemont consulted, said in June that any referendum must be carried out “in full compliance with the constitution”.
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
….Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The California Republican has been pursuing the dossier more aggressively than anyone else, and it was his Oct. 4 subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that handled the dossier, that finally shook loose the information….
Sometime in October 2016 — that is, at the height of the presidential campaign — Christopher Steele, the foreign agent hired by Fusion GPS to compile the Trump dossier, approached the FBI with information he had gleaned during the project. According to a February report in the Washington Post, Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”
It was an astonishing turn: the nation’s top federal law enforcement agency agreeing to fund an ongoing opposition research project being conducted by one of the candidates in the midst of a presidential election….
When the Post story broke Tuesday night, some journalists noted that Democrats involved in the story had been lying about their role. “When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong,'” tweeted the New York Times’ Ken Vogel. “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,” added the Times’ Maggie Haberman.