Tuesday, March 31, 2020

60 Minutes

The end is nigh.

Covid-19 Infections Balloon to Over 800,000 Cases

Worldwide, coronavirus infections have ballooned to more than 800,000 cases – of which the United States contributes 20.5%, Italy 12.7% and Spain 11.8% and these 3 countries’ numbers add up to a very significant 45%.

Already, the US has reported over 3,000 deaths – and it looks like the situation there is deteriorating very rapidly.

Remember Rodney Howard-Browne (left), pastor of the River megachurch in Tampa, Florida in USA who received a mention in my blog post titled “Covid-19 Miracle Cures” on Thursday? 

I just read the news that he was arrested Monday for holding a crowded service in defiance of a local order that limits gatherings in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19. 

Jail records from the Hernando County Detention Center show Howard-Browne was charged with unlawful assembly as well as health and safety violations during a public health emergency. 

He was released on a $500 bond. And he complained in a Facebook video that he was “arrested for preaching the Gospel”. 

This nutcase has spread conspiracy theories about coronavirus, calling it a “phantom plague” created by China and pushed by “communists” in the media, according to clips put online by Right Wing Watch.

A Kitchen Turns Into a Movie Studio

Wow! A kitchen turns into a movie studio and its everyday items are recreated into classic Chinese movie settings:

World Speech Day 2020 garnered 207 registrations across 3 locations. 

In case you’re interested to know, here’s a breakdown of the numbers that’s looking at gender representation, the Young and the Wise, organizational affiliation and Malaysians versus the rest of the World:

Monday, March 30, 2020

Donald Trump Talks Cock Again

Yesterday, in a press briefing, Donald Trump (right) talked cock again. 

The US president bizarrely appeared to accuse health workers of stealing surgical masks amid huge shortages brought on by terrible conditions in hospitals and also charged states of hoarding ventilators. 

On one occasion, he even called corporate CEOs to the mic to laud his leadership.

That likely didn't appease him a whole lot because he then felt compelled to heap huge praise on himself by boasting that his press briefings have garnered high TV ratings! 

On the same day too, the top US diseases expert, Anthony Fauci (right) managed to get a few words in. He decided to give Americans a huge scare when he boldly suggested that Covid-19 deaths could reach 200,000. 

Trump’s reaction was outlandishly comical! 

He said keeping US deaths under 100,000 would be “a very good job”! I can’t believe I’m hearing this. 

Over on the other side of the globe, the coronavirus still poses a major threat to Malaysia.

The Ministry of Health announced that the country has yet again recorded its highest Covid-19 recoveries in a day, with 91 patients discharged today.

Their Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah (right) said the cumulative total Covid-19 patients who have recovered is 479. 

However, there is still no respite from the pathogen because we have 156 new confirmed infections, bringing the country’s tally to 2,626 cases. Three more deaths and that brings the total of Covid-19 fatalities to 37. 

More misery to follow.

Worldwide, infection cases have raced past 700,000:

Cherry Blossoms in Wuhan

Though mainly associated with Japan, cherry blossom season is a widely anticipated event in cities around the world, a sign that spring has arrived, an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy nature's unrivaled beauty. 

Right now, no city is more deserving of that message of hope and renewal than Wuhan, which has been under lockdown since January 24 due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Wuhan's cherry blossom trees are in full bloom right now – check out the 8KRAW video below:

One of the best places to enjoy them is Wuhan University, which is normally filled with cherry blossom admirers. This season, however, has been anything but normal. 

It's nearly empty due to the ongoing lockdown, creating scenes of ethereal beauty.

According to Chinese state media, over 1,000 cherry trees are scattered across the university campus. Some of the oldest were gifted to the city by Japan in the 1970s, when China and Japan established diplomatic relations. 

A cherry blossom is the flower from a Prunus tree. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Prunus is a genus of more than 400 species of flowering shrubs and trees in the rose family (Rosaceae). It has a number of economically important members, including the cultivated almond, peach, plum, cherry and apricot and many species flower prolifically and are grown as ornamentals. 

Different varieties of cherry blossoms bloom at different times, but in general, most hit their peak at the end of March to the beginning of April. 

Their colors may vary. The most common species of cherry blossom in Japan is the Somei-yoshino, also known as Yoshino cherry – a hybrid between two other species  and is known for its almost entirely white petals tinged with the faintest of pinks. The other species is the popular Kawazu-zakura – their blossoms are a stronger shade of pink.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

From One to One Thousand, then Double It

As Covid-19 infections swell and deaths surge in the US of A – all eyes are on the country. And that’s because it is now the epicenter of the pandemic. 

With 330 million residents, the country is the world’s third most populous, meaning it provides a gargantuan pool of people who can potentially get infected by the coronavirus. 

A sprawling, noisy democracy, where states set their own policies and Trump sent mixed messages about the scale of the danger and how to fight it, thereby, ensuring there can be no coherent, unified response to a grave public health threat. 

But really, generally-speaking, the US was smug and dismissive about Covid-19 and Trump remained obstinately preoccupied with business as usual – until the fast-spreading pathogen arrived on the country’s shores and quickly started spreading and spreading. 

Twenty-nine days ago, a Washingtonian was the first known coronavirus fatality on American soil. 

By Thursday morning, 1,000 people have died. And by Saturday evening, the death toll reached 2,000. 

There’s no doubt about it  infections and deaths will surely spiral and soar.

Sweden Stays Cool with Covid-19

Nearly a third of the world’s population is now living under coronavirus-related restrictions. 

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the Covid-19 outbreak first emerged, began lifting a two-month lockdown yesterday by restarting some metro services and reopening borders, allowing some semblance of normality to return and families to reunite.

The latest UK government figures on Saturday showed there were another 260 deaths in the UK in a day, up from 759 on Friday, meaning the total death toll has now exceeded 1,000. 

The jump in deaths is the biggest day-on-day increase the UK since the outbreak began. The number of deaths is 34% higher than Friday's figure. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock are self-isolating after testing positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Italy's death toll passes 10,000: 

While swathes of Europe's population endure lockdown conditions in the face of Covid-19, one country – Sweden – stands almost alone in allowing life to go on pretty much normally. 

It seems the government's strategy is on self-responsibility. Public health authorities and politicians are still hoping to slow down the spread of the virus without the need for draconian measures. 

There are more guidelines than strict rules, with a focus on staying home if you're sick or elderly, washing your hands, and avoiding any non-essential travel, as well as working from home.

Coronavirus-themed Foods

In the fight against Covid-19, everybody is involved, one way or another. 

Including the bakers and chefs who work to bring light relief to the current crisis and spread a little cheer. So, check out their creations – coronavirus-themed foods that hopefully make us smile! 

In the city of Dortmund in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia region, the Schuerener Backparadies bakery has added two different coronavirus-themed creations to its selection. 

One, customers can buy biscuit versions of the face mask emoji:

Two, customers can opt for toilet roll-shaped cakes: 

This is a nod to the well-documented toilet paper shortage that's occurred across the world as consumers frantically buy it up in bulk – the marble cakes are wrapped in white fondant etched with tiny diamond shapes in the style of quilted toilet roll. 

In fact, owner Tim Kortuem told Reuters Television the toilet roll cakes are helping to keep the Schuerener Backparadies in business during these difficult times. 

"The customers are totally crazy about it", he says. "Most people just like it as it adds some fun to these times". 

Over in the US, a New York doughnut shop has dedicated its latest offering to infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force who's won the public over with his straight-talking approach. 

The people at Donuts Delite in Rochester decided to make Fauci the "face" of one of its doughnuts as a way of lifting the mood:

They had been impressed by Dr. Fauci's handling of the situation so far. 

"We loved his message and how thorough he was, and how he kept everyone informed during the crisis... so we wanted to give back and say thanks". 

According to owner Nick Semeraro, the shop has sold thousands of the buttercream-frosted doughnut, which features Fauci's face printed on edible paper, with customers asking for the treat to be sent to other cities and states. 

"We had no idea it was going to blow up this big", he said. "We didn't know everyone else felt the same way we did". 

Meanwhile, a restaurant in Vietnam has created a way for its customers to “take a bite” out of the coronavirus that has disrupted much of the world – by serving burgers designed to look like the actual virus.

Hanoi pizza shop owner and chef Hoang Tung says he dreamed up the burgers, which feature green-tea stained buns with tiny "crowns" to take the fear out of the infectious disease. 

"We have this joke that if you are scared of something, you should eat it", Tung told Reuters.

Burger buns shaped like a coronavirus are seen prior to being baked at a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 25, 2020 

Coronavirus-shaped buns seen at a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 25, 2020

Tung said that since he introduced the burger Monday, he has sold about 50 a day, and that it seems to make his customers happy. 

Customers have told him that eating a burger shaped like the virus makes them feel like they have somehow beaten it.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid-19 Runs Riot in USA and Elsewhere

Covid-19 runs riot in the US and it becomes the first country to top 100,000 cases. 

You can be sure the pathogen will press on and forge ahead. Cases will multiply and doctors and hospitals will be overwhelmed. And be sure to expect too a massive pile-up of corpses. 

Worldwide, cases breached the 600,000 mark and it would appear at least for now, there's no stopping the coronavirus. Simply put, it is unyielding and unforgiving.

In Italy, the country continues to break records – it reported 919 new fatalities, its highest daily figure in the outbreak so far. 

The total has reached more than 9,000 deaths, more than anywhere else in the world.

Fears are also growing of an increase in cases in the poorer south of the country. The prospect that Lombardy's tragedy is about to become the south's tragedy is very real. Meaning, we can expect more infections and even more deaths. 

And the fact of the matter is that Italy is a week or two ahead of most of Europe – both in the progression of the virus and in the lockdown. So what happens here will be closely watched elsewhere in Europe. 

Already, day by day, the numbers are shooting up in many, many countries:

It is pertinent to mention that each country has a different healthcare system and is taking different measures to control the spread of the virus. Therefore, the number of deaths depends both on the spread of the virus and the treatment that people can access when they have it. 

The future in each country will depend on the actions governments and citizens take.

China to the Rescue

Beijing was widely criticized for mishandling the SARS outbreak back then in 2003. This time around with Covid-19, China was quicker and more responsive. And draconian measures were taken. 

After it contained the pandemic, it turned its attention to countries who are going through this painful period of contagion. 

On March 20, 2020, China announced it is offering help to 82 countries, the World Health Organization and the African Union in the fight against the coronavirus. Malaysia was one of those countries which benefited. 

The medical supplies China has sent and is sending include test kits, masks and protective clothing.

Masks destined for Daegu, South Korea, February 27, 2020. Image credit: Xinhua 

A planeload of medical supplies arrived in Athens on March 21, 2020 from China – at the urgent request of the Greek government – via Air China flight CA 863. Image credit: Greek City Times 

Medical supplies for Malaysia donated by China, March 24, 2020. Image credit: Yusof Mat Isa

In terms of medical technology cooperation, it has shared diagnosis and treatment plans, held video conferences with health experts, and dispatched medical specialists to Iran, Iraq and Italy, among others.

Medics from China at a local hospital in Bergamo, Italy, March 20, 2020. Image credit: Li Yaoyang/CMG 

Chinese medical team set off for Serbia, March 21, 2020. Image credit: Global Times, China 

Medics and medical equipment arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 23, 2020. Image credit: CGTN, China

Ireland is taking one step further. The country’s flag carrier will fly to China 60 times to collect medical supplies. 

The purpose is to prepare for and fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan is simply “Fly, get the gear, and come home”.

The above pic shows Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at Ireland’s Department of Health, pointing to a graph during a Covid-19 briefing on March 23, 2020 showing where Ireland was as the coronavirus pandemic rages on throughout the world. 

Five days on, the situation has decidedly turned grave. In fact, this morning itself, citizens of the Republic of Ireland woke up to herald in their country's version of the Movement Control Order.

It's understood Aer Lingus will make the first trip from Dublin Airport to Beijing today, with the airline's chiefs hoping to begin five daily return journeys from Tuesday onwards. 

The passenger planes to be deployed are Airbus A330s where the seats will carry medical equipment such as ventilators, PPE, masks, goggles, testing kits and more. 

Their pilots won't even get off the aircraft or else they'll be put into quarantine. 

Anyway, the point I'm making is that we should be thankful that China is demonstrating global aid response leadership since the US prefers to bury its head in the sand. China knows that action speaks louder than words. 

It’s good to see China turning the tables on Donald Trump and his sickening splurge of bloated self-importance. 

Thumbs-up for China!


Given that the Covid-19 pandemic is in full swing now, The Leith Agency, a creative company that predominantly focuses on advertising based in the Leith area of Edinburgh, Scotland is reminding everyone of the time it should take to properly wash your hands. 

Yup, I can’t stress enough the importance of hand hygiene – if you haven’t read my posts on this subject, here are the links: https://helpvictor.blogspot.com/2020/03/hand-sanitizers-and-soaps-put-to-test.html and

The agency has revealed short, witty poems to be hung above any sink that takes the same time to read as it does to kill the germs on your hands. 

Check ’em out below: