News, June 13th

China reports 11 new confirmed, 7 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases for June 12

China reported 11 new COVID-19 cases and seven asymptomatic cases for June 12, the national health authority said on June 13.

The National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement that five of the new confirmed patients were so-called imported cases involving travellers from overseas.

The six locally transmitted cases were all in Beijing, the statement said.

The NHC reported seven confirmed cases and one asymptomatic case a day earlier.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 83,075, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634. China does not count asymptomatic patients, who are infected with the virus but do not display symptoms, as confirmed cases.

Italy, Europe and the Global Recovery in 2021

Buon pomeriggio ! We are at a point in our history where it is paramount to concentrate on what this crisis entails, what are the risks and opportunities a recovery will present to us, and how to bring the world together. These will be the three points on which I will concentrate.

Let me start with the crisis. We labeled it a crisis like no other, for multiple reasons. First, because it is truly global, and we have not had a global crisis like this before. By the end of 2020, 170 countries will have lower per capita incomes than at the beginning of the year—when as recently as January we projected positive growth for 160 countries. This a stunning reversal of fortunes.

Second, the nature of the crisis means it is hitting the service sector especially hard, rather than a larger hit to manufacturing as often experienced. This time, what we see is a dramatic blow to tourism, hospitality, and travel. What it means is that we have had unemployment at the somewhat lower-skilled end of the spectrum, with the likelihood for elevated joblessness for these workers for quite some time.

Third, it is unique also in terms of the enormity of the response. And I want to praise you for that—praise Italy and all the countries that in a short time vastly increased fiscal measures: 10 trillion dollars up to now, with one third of this coming from the European Union. And there has been a massive injection of liquidity and easing of conditions by major central banks, again, with the European Central Bank forcefully doing its job.

Why is this important? Because, as the economists among us remember, the definition of depression is a significant reduction in output, lasting several years. Now, with these exceptional measures, we have put a floor under the world economy, and therefore, we are reducing dramatically the risks of scarring and the longevity of this crisis.

Policy actions have also had some positive spillover effects for emerging markets. In March, emerging markets were basically shut out of access to bond issuance, creating tremendous concern about a potentially severe impact. In April and May, however, because of the scale of measures taken, primarily by advanced economies, but also by many emerging markets economies, the enormous injection of liquidity meant that emerging markets with good fundamentals could return and issue bonds. These critical financial lifelines can help countries stabilize at a time when economies are at a standstill.

It is very important to recognize that there are categories of countries that are in a very dire place. These are emerging markets with weak fundamentals and high debt levels, and low-income and fragile countries. And this is where the attention of the IMF is now concentrated.

In a short time, in six weeks, we have provided financial support to 68 countries that are desperately in need of buffers against the crisis. Never in the history of the IMF have we done so much in such a short period of time. And as you mentioned, we have also taken action to provide debt relief to our poorest members, as well as the so-called G20 debt service suspension initiative, which is intended to help provide space to respond to the crisis for 73 vulnerable countries.

The significant conventional and unconventional economic measures taken by countries reflect the weak outlook. We have to keep monitoring this, but for now—despite exceptional policy support— there are disinflationary pressures and low inflation projected for a long time, as well as very low or even negative interest rates.

We also need to recognize the potential for unintended consequences from the large-scale injection of liquidity, including a divergence between what is happening in financial markets and what is happening in the real economy.

Pennington County woman becomes state’s 75th coronavirus death

A woman in her 50s became the eighth person from Pennington County to die from COVID-19 illness. Her death was reported Saturday by the South Dakota Department of Health along with 16 more new cases of coronavirus in Pennington County.

There are now 378 total positive tests and 177 active cases in the county. There were 189 total tests reported Saturday for Pennington County.

Meade County reported three new positive tests after completing 76 tests. They have 33 positive tests and 10 active cases in Meade County.

Across South Dakota, 91 new cases of coronavirus were reported to bring the state’s total to 5,833. There were just over 1,500 tests in Saturday’s report.

There are now 930 active cases in the state – up 17 from Friday’s report. The total number of people hospitalized in the state fell two to 85 Saturday. There are 33 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the Monument Health system. Saturday’s death brings the state’s total to 75.

Some interesting trends from Saturday’s report included Mellette County reporting its first positive test. Other counties with smaller numbers are seeing faster spread the past few days. Charles Mix County added nine cases for a total of 30. There were only 10 negative tests reported there Saturday. Similarly, Buffalo County added eight for a total of 47. There were 50 negative tests in Buffalo County. Beadle County continues to grow with 16 more new cases reported Saturday.

Minnehaha County only added nine new cases Saturday and Union and Yankton counties – once hot spots – continue to show transmission of the virus has slowed there with no new positive tests in several days this week.

Other new cases came from Aurora, Brown and Lincoln counties with three each; Brule and Clark counties with two new cases each; and Codington, Corson, Davison, Hamlin, Jackson, Lyman and Todd counties with one each.

Custer County reported 52 negative tests Saturday. Fall River and Lawrence counties each reported 26 negative tests and Oglala-Lakota reported 10 negative tests.

U.S. sobering death rate results from sluggish epidemic response:  media

The sobering death rate in the United States is a result of the country’s “sluggish” anti-epidemic response, said an article published recently by Time magazine.

“The stark disparity in COVID-19 death rates between the U.S. and other countries illustrates the enormous difference between the effectiveness of the U.S. and successful countries’ responses to the pandemic,” said the article published Wednesday and titled “U.S. Response to COVID-19 is Worse than China’s. 100 Times Worse.”

The article specifically made a comparison between the epidemic responses of the United States and China, as the former’s death rate is now “100 times greater” than the latter’s.

“By Dec. 31, Chinese authorities had informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the threat. By Jan. 12, Chinese scientists had identified the virus that causes the illness and shared its genetic sequence with the world so that all countries could develop COVID-19 tests and begin working on a vaccine,” the article said.

The Asian country also implemented “a massive lockdown” in Wuhan and deployed thousands of medical staff to the city, sped up testing and contact tracing to isolate new cases, and built temporary medical facilities to hospitalize COVID-19 patients — steps that have controlled the virus’ spread at home, “buying time for other parts of the country to prepare,” it said.

In contrast, the United States, due to a “much-delayed” response from the federal government and most state governments, “gave the virus weeks to spread unfettered and virtually undetected,” it said.

“Unfortunately, we see little sign that the federal government is mounting the kind of urgent, nationwide, coordinated approach that is need to reverse current trends,” the article said, adding that the country lacks enough daily tests and contact tracing to safely end social distancing.

Unlike some countries taking swift and coordinated actions, the United States has only obtained a “patchwork of varying state policies and often-contradictory messaging about safety measures,” which will not only further endanger human health, but also harm the U.S. economy, it said.

“Unless it aggressively implements the lessons to be learned from successful nations, we fear the U.S. death rate may rise to 200 times that of China,” it added.

UN chief calls for Libya mass grave investigation

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has expressed deep shock at the discovery of mass graves in Libya over recent days, in territory that was recently in the hands of the so-called opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar.

The UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL announced, on Thursday, the discovery of at least eight graves in Tarhouna, around 100 kilometres southeast of the capital, Tripoli, and formerly a stronghold for the forces of General Haftar, during his campaign to capture Tripoli, which has now lasted over a year.

In a statement released on Saturday, the UN spokesperson, Mr. Dujarric, said that the Secretary-General is calling for a “thorough and transparent investigation”, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. In particular, he called on the authorities to “secure the mass graves, identify the victims, establish causes of death and return the bodies to next of kin”, and assured Libya that the United Nations has offered support in this regard.

“The Secretary-General once again reminds all parties to the conflict in Libya of their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law”, said Dujarric, adding that Mr. Guterres “reiterates his call for an immediate end to the fighting in Libya in order to save lives and end civilian suffering”.

The spokesman went on to note that the UN chief welcomes the resumption of the work of the Libyan Joint Military Commission, and hopes that a ceasefire will be agreed soon. On Wednesday, UNSMIL declared that the UN-backed authorities, and the LNA are “fully engaged” in the thirds round of talks.

During a recent Security Council meeting on Libya, Stephanie Williams, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), briefed that Libyans had to deal with almost constant bombardment, and frequent water and electricity outages during the holy month of Ramadan.

“From what we are witnessing in terms of the massive influx of weaponry, equipment and mercenaries to the two sides, the only conclusion that we can draw is that this war will intensify, broaden and deepen – with devastating consequences for the Libyan people”, she told the Council.

US unemployment rate soars to post-WW2 record high: Fed Reserve

The US Federal Reserve said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an alarming surge in job losses, “with the unemployment rate, which had been at a 50-year low, soaring to a post-World War II record high”.

The central bank’s remarks were part of its Monetary Policy Report submitted to Congress on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Since February, employers have shed nearly 20 million jobs from payrolls, reversing almost 10 years of job gains, the Fed said in the report, noting that the unemployment rate jumped to a post-World War II high of 14.7 per cent in April and then moved down to a still very elevated 13.3 per cent in May.

In a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell pointed out this figure “likely understates the extent of unemployment”, as was stressed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Accounting for the unusually large number of workers who reported themselves as employed but absent from their jobs would raise the unemployment rate by about 3 percentage points,” Powell said.

The central bank chief voiced his concern that millions of Americans could be permanently unemployed from this crisis, adding that the US economy will likely need more fiscal and monetary support for a long time.

What’s the CHAZ about in Seattle?

Like nearly every other city and town in the United States, Seattle erupted in protests in response to the brutal police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As also happened elsewhere, police responded to a protest against police brutality with more brutality. The first major protest took place on May 30; some 12,000 complaints were filed with a police watch-dog group regarding police abuse towards protesters including the use of pepper spray on a small child and cops kneeling on the necks of people being arrested.

Mayor Jenny Durkan declared a 5 pm curfew on May 30 while people were still at an organized rally; pepper spray, tear gas and flash bangs were repeatedly deployed; police engaged in provocative tactics including blocking many streets preventing protesters from getting to the rally site.

The next day, protesters assembled again and defied the curfew, marching from downtown to the neighborhood of Capitol Hill, a historic artist and LGBTQ neighborhood that has faced significant gentrification in recent years. Protesters tried to march to the East Precinct police station, but police and National Guard formed a line. A stand off ensued and protesters were eventually doused in tear gas and attacked with flash bangs, as documented on numerous livestreams.

Protesters determined to defy the curfew and maintain a round the clock presence, facing off with the cops and National Guard. It should be noted that the presence outside the East Precinct was not and is not the only form of action on the streets in Seattle; there are have been many marches and protests in different parts of the city as well in various suburbs.

On Sunday June 7, an armed man attempted to drive a car into the crowd at the intersection of 11th and Pine. Protesters chased the car and tried to erect a barricade but what saved countless lives was the heroism of a young Black man named Daniel Gregory who reached into the open window of the car and grabbed the driver, who shot Gregory in the arm. Gregory was treated on the scene by street medics and taken to the hospital; he has since been released. The gunman exited his car, brandishing his weapon and surrendered to the police at the barricades; he was taken into custody without so much as a scratch on his body.

Not surprisingly, tensions on the line with cops increased; despite the Mayor’s promise, teargas was again deployed that night.

The next day, protesters continued to face off and then, at one point, they just pushed through the barricade and entered into the zone in front of the police station. The police withdrew from the area and began evacuating the precinct building.

Thus came into being what has become to be known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone or CHAZ.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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