Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

(Not So) Random Coronavirus Thoughts From The Other Side Of The World

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain showing North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal, off the east Indian coast.

Remember the Stone Age Sentinel Island tribe members?

Sentinelese tribesman shooting arrows at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter sent for a Health and Welfare check upon the remote, Stone Age islanders following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Way out in the middle of the Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal on Sentinel Island, they are the world’s last known “uncontacted” people, meaning that no one other than them has ever known their language, they likely don’t know how to make fire, and are a hunter-gatherer type primitive people.

Reckon the coronavirus has wafted their way?

We’ll likely never know if they survive, or not, since we (civilization/humanity) don’t stop by for a visit and cup of tea every now and then – regular, or unplanned.

One of the last known official attempts at contact with them was via helicopter, when Indian government officials performed a type of “health and welfare safety check” following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and were fired upon by a tribesman using a bow and arrows.

After that, the last time anyone ever “checked upon” them was around November 2018, when the now-deceased self-styled missionary John Allen Chau violated Indian law by visiting the island, and later, was killed by them in his misguided evangelization efforts.

But what if somehow, they’re immune to COVID-19?

We’ll likely never know.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia watching the military parade alongside aging veterans. Credit–Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik, via Agence France-Presse; Aging veterans in their 80s and 90s joined Mr. Putin on the reviewing stand, nearly all of them without masks, to watch 14,000 troops march in tight formation to stirring martial music. Tanks, missiles and other military equipment then trundled through the square in front of the Kremlin, followed by a flyover by strategic bombers, fighter jets and helicopters.

Macho, Macho Man… I’ve got to be a macho man.

Like his Russian buddy Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump doesn’t wear any protective nose/mouth face mask/covering against the coronavirus. The man is tough – cheap steak tough. Like chickens, he eats rocks… to digest his food, since he has no stomach to speak of.

June 24th, Putin, along with many other elderly Russian veterans of WWII, participated in Victory Day, a celebration of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Practically no one was wearing a mask.

Ironically, the parade had been delayed 6 weeks from its originally-scheduled date of May 9 due to… you guessed it – the coronavirus pandemic.

But hey!

They now have a vaccine… or, so Putin claims.

Maybe that’s why he’s so healthy and fearless.

Yes! We have no bananas. We have no bananas today!

Ever notice how quiet Trump has been about his other totalitarian pal, the North Korean dictator-for-life Kim Jong Un and their nation’s claim that there have been no cases of COVID-19 in that nation?

North Korea (DPRK) hasn’t officially reported even one single confirmed case of COVID-19, but in early March, the government-run Korean Central News Agency, which is the only news/media agency in the nation, reported about 7,000 North Korean citizens were being closely monitored. But earlier, in late February, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) got the go-ahead from the United Nations to send 10,000 test kits (RT-PCR reagents) and one RT-PCR diagnostic machine to the DPRK, though it reportedly encountered shipping delays. However, in mid-March, an American worker with a NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in the DPRK spoke on terms of anonymity and stated that Russia had also shipped diagnostic testing kits on a return flight to the capitol city of Pyongyang following evacuation of foreign diplomats and other foreign travelers.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second left in the background, attends an emergency Politburo meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday, July 25, 2020. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

And then in early April, a little over 700 people there had been tested for COVID-19 – that according to Dr. Edin Salvador, MD, a World Health Organization (WHO) official in that nation, which also marked the first time the DPRK had ever confirmed any screenings for the disease.

Dr. Salvador confirmed that diagnostic test kits had been sent to the DPRK from China in January, and in an email stated that “as of 2 April, 709 people — 11 foreigners and 698 nationals — have been tested for COVID-19. There is no report of a COVID-19 case.”

The WHO receives “weekly updates” from the DPRK Ministry of Public Health which reported that 24,842 people — including 380 foreigners — had been released from quarantine since December 31, 2019, and that in April, two foreigners and 507 DPRK nationals remained under quarantine, bringing the total number of North Koreans quarantined at that point, to 24,969. The only site in Korea which is able to test for COVID-19 is the DPRK’s “national reference laboratory” in the capitol city of Pyongyang.

According to a confidential report made to Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service in mid-July, North Koreans refusing to wear facemasks in public “will be punished with more than three months of disciplinary labor, regardless of who they are,” stated the source, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

Most recently, in late July, reports emerged of a defector who had returned to the DPRK via the DMZ to the city of Kaesong, while possibly infected with coronavirus. The report originated from the state-run newswire KCNA, which also reported that Kim Jong Un had convened an emergency meeting upon learning the news. South Korean officials confirmed the defector had crossed the DMZ into North Korea, and stated that the man was neither a known coronavirus patient, nor close contact of one, while local police stated that he was being investigated for a sex crime.


Everything Old Is New Again

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern swiftly reimposed tight restrictions in Auckland, that nation’s most populous and major seaport city, including social distancing measures across the entire country following discovery of a mysterious COVID infection in a family of 4 following 102 consecutive days of no coronavirus transmission in the nation.

Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, MD said “We are working hard to put together pieces of the puzzle on how this family got infected.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Director of General Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, MD give media a COVID-19 update August 12, 2020, address recent news of a family of 4 found to be infected after 102 consecutive days of no coronavirus transmission in the nation.

He said that epidemiological investigation was focusing upon the possibility that the virus was imported via freight, stating that surface testing was underway at a refrigeration facility where the family worked, adding that, “We know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time.”

Chinese health officials have reported at least 158 instances of coronavirus being detected in Beijing and outlying areas, including on imported frozen seafood on June 20 and of a 22-year-old man who works as a dishwasher in Conrad Hotel  in the north China city of Tianjin, and occasionally cleans frozen seafood there.

Another instance involves frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil into the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, and samples from exterior packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp sold in the northwestern city of Xi’An on August 13, although the WHO says there’s no confirmed case of transmission through food, or its packaging – yet they do note that studies have found the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on plastic.

Unlike other pathogens such as bacteria, viruses are not “alive” in the classical sense, so they cannot “die,” or be “killed,” and can only multiply inside the living cells of a host, which may include animals, plants, or some bacterias. The tobacco mosaic virus is one such example of a plant-based virus. Another example of viral infections of plants is the tulip breaking virus which causes the solid colors of the flower’s petals to become striated in appearance – an often very-desirable feature.


Where Do We Go From Here

Much, if not most, or, even all, of this coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has shown how critically important it is to have good international relations – even with one’s enemies – simply for the sake of Public Health, if nothing else.

Playing the “blame game” and attempting to point fingers at China as culprit, serves little-to-no purpose, and certainly doesn’t accomplish what needs to be done, which is to eradicate the virus, develop a vaccine against it, and to determine how it originated. In other words, our number one priority is to maintain Public Health. And as many of us have been reminded from childhood, when one points, there are three other fingers pointing back at you.

In our current era, with inexpensive international travel commonplace, it has been thrust upon us everyone to not only become more diligent, but to acknowledge that mutual cooperation on such matters is of paramount importance, and most definitely in our national self interest.

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