Life and lifestyles are falling apart for global culture with the arrival of the Virus, the 2020 grim reaper. The USA, Western Europe, with Spain and Italy, are heavily targeted, followed by China, Japan, and South Korea in Asia, Iran in the Middle East. It has hit Africa, South America and beyond. It has visited actors, prime ministers and first responders the world over alike. There is no end in sight – well, for at least 18 months, as epidemiologists and virologists work on a vaccine to check the monster virus, which is an equal-opportunity menace.
There’s talk about relaxing quarantines on the American Northeast Coast and the West Coast states. None have talked about dates. According to Johns Hopkins University’s April 13th data, global stats indicate that two million people have been infected by the coronavirus with 110, 493 deaths. In the United States, there are 582,607 COVID-19 cases and 23,628 deaths. The April 12 New York State COVID-19 statistics indicate 196,146 cases with 10,058 deaths. In NYC, there are 106,763 COVID-19 cases.
New York is the American epicenter. Why? Public health practitioners answer: The Big Apple is the nation’s largest and most densely populated city. In reviewing stats about the most negatively impacted NYC residents, it is obvious – the coronavirus fatalities are disproportionately in neighborhoods of color.
Cases by borough: Staten Island, 8,198; the Bronx, 23,352; Queens, 33,468; Brooklyn, 28, 035; Manhattan, 13,705. The virus death rates by race: Hispanics, 521; African Americans, 428; Whites, 424; Asians, 112 and Other, 70. The virus caught the world and NYC unawares. Normally, the White House would take the lead in dealing with a public health menace of this scale. Not this one! The 4/12 NY Times piece, “He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus,” delineates a timeline – January to the present – the genesis of Donald Trump’s inability to tackle crisis management and the unraveling of his presidency.
How are New Yorkers managing the crisis? Many are waiting for unemployment checks and a $1200+ stimulus check, which will be electronically deposited to their bank accounts. Nearly, 200,000 taxpaying New Yorkers – most of them people of color – are ineligible for the coronavirus relief because of GOP meddling. Users of an IRS form, the Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are ineligible for stimulus checks. Many ITIN users are undocumented people, who pay as much as $11.8 billion annually in taxes. Other people are unemployed and living precariously.
In the Bronx a group of residents, small business owners, public and private types, formed the Bronx Community Relief Effort to raise $10 million to help needy residents, many of them heads of households, during the coronavirus crisis. NYS Assemblyman Michael Blake observes. “There was a pandemic of poverty in the Bronx long before COVID-19 arrived.”
The NY-based Robin Hood Foundation headed by Wes Moore sees that New York is at the epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic and that New Yorkers living in poverty will be the hardest hit. Moore launched the Robin Hood Relief Fund and has given COVID-19 grants totaling $8.4 million to 106 nonprofit organizations on the frontlines to provide emergency support through food, housing and job security. The RH Relief Fund welcomes donations and grant requests. Many more foundations and Corporate America must follow suit.
The Brooklyn Community Foundation is awarding grants via its Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund Grants. Foundation award funds up $10,000 to address social, health and economic impact of the coronavirus in the borough’s more vulnerable groups, with a focus on support to communities of color. Food access, older adults, small business and immigrant communities. Grant applications accepted at Covid19@brooklyncommunityfoundation.org.
COVID-19 Origins: Last week the New York Times and the Washington Times documented two studies, one by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Hospital and the other by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, which concluded that the COVID-19 outbreak in New York originated in Europe, not China. A 3/11 Centre for Research on Globalization study notes, “Further evidence … suggests COVID-19 originated in the USA,” which dates back to August 2019, when there was a surge in inexplicable pneumonia deaths, which at the time, Americans wrongfully attributed to vaping from e-cigarettes. Now Trump has suspended payments to the World Health Organization (WHO), his new scapegoat for his ineptitude handling the pandemic crisis.
The pandemic has brought global economies to a near standstill, and a long and painful recovery is imminent. The International Monetary Fund predicted (4/13) that “the coronavirus pandemic will plunge the global economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression.”
So, President Trump is eager to get the United States back to business, a thought easier said than done, considering the enemy is a virus in search of a vaccine. The USA must first engage in a government-sponsored antibody virus-testing program for its 330 million residents.
THE 2020 PRESIDENCY
The results are in from last week’s Wisconsin primary, won by Joe Biden. Bernie got the message. On 4/13, he endorsed Biden for U.S. President in an attempt to unify the Democratic Party’s two factions, the progressives and moderates. He appealed to Democrats, Republicans and Independents, saying, “We must come together to defeat the most dangerous president in modern history.”
A day later, President Barack Obama announced his endorsement of Joe Biden’s presidential bid. Truth to tell, he has been working undercover for months supporting his Vice President, according to some media.
While the Trump Presidency and the Republicans should be put to pasture in November, based on their post-2016 performance, the path to the White House will not be an easy, linear one for the Democrats. Change must come and Joe Biden must be the next WH occupant. Who knows what America will be up to re: COVID-19 devastation, by November? Will voters be able to get to the polls? Can there be a national write-in vote? No way! Trump says. “Republicans would never win another election,” if the write-in vote was de rigueur in all states. Remember GOP resistance to a write-in vote or postponement of last week’s Wisconsin vote against the backdrop of the COVID-19 terror.
Treatment of Africans in China
According to a Quartz Africa story, “After Months of Lockdown, Africans in China are being targeted and evicted from apartments!” African governments Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, and the African Union unite in protest to Chinese Ambassadors about treatment of Africans in China after the 76-day COVID-19 lockdown.
African migrants are personae non gratae at hotels and local shops and are being harassed by police in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, known as Little Africa. Beijing is another city where Africans are not welcome. Africans are not in the majority of foreigners in China who tested COVID-19 positive. Chinese authorities are not forthcoming with answers. McDonalds stores in China apologized to Africans for signs banning them.
Wonder what would happen if African capitals started to demonize the 2 million Chinese living in Africa?