16 April 2020 Daily Digest of COVID-19 News and Analysis

PANDEMIC EXPOSES NAVAJO NATION’S WATER ACCESS CRISIS AND HEALTH DISPARITIES (15 April 2020)

Truthout: As the COVID-19 death toll continues to rise in the U.S., fear is mounting that the spread of the virus could devastate tribal communities. We look at how the coronavirus is impacting Indian Country with Dean Seneca, a citizen of the Seneca Nation and epidemiologist who spent nearly 20 years as a senior health scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Navajo activist and artist Emma Robbins, director of the Navajo Water Project, a community-managed utility alternative that brings hot and cold running water to homes without access to water or sewer lines. “One of the hardest things right now is being able to wash your hands in the Navajo Nation,” says Robbins. The Navajo Nation is the largest tribal nation in the United States and the hardest hit by the outbreak, with nearly 30 deaths and more than 830 confirmed cases.

THE USES AND ABUSES OF SOCIAL DISTANCING UNDER CAPITALISM (14 April 2020)

The Indypendent: Critical accounts of the current pandemic have explained how social distancing is often an unaffordable luxury for the most underprivileged groups in rich and low-income countries alike.  One thing that has not received critical attention, however, is the term “social distancing” itself. Its use as a synonym for physical distancing is an ideological misnomer. Social distancing suggests a loosening of social ties, when, in fact, the pleas that authorities and public health officials make on behalf of physical distancing appeal to such feelings of social solidarity as still exist in otherwise competitive and individualistic capitalist societies.

THE LINK BETWEEN VIRUSES, HABITAT DESTRUCTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE (13 April 2020)

National Observer:

When the Phocine Distemper Virus infects its victims, it produces symptoms that sound eerily familiar: fever, and difficulty breathing. The respiratory disease affects animals like the harbour seal, of which it was responsible in 1988 for tens of thousands of deaths in the North Atlantic off the coast of Europe. More recently, scientists discovered, it had also infected northern sea otters — on the other side of the world.

GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS IS SPARKING A MUTUAL AID REVOLUTION (13 April 2020)

Mint Press News: I‘m not from DC, but I live here. I’m now a part of this living, breathing being that is a city. This city. It helps me to think of cities that way, even ones that I don’t fully feel at home in – like a body. And I’m like a blood transfusion. I know this isn’t my city, my body, but it’s where my life flows now, and so I best flow with it. This body holds me – it is my literal and figurative structure. I am one of the millions of cells rushing through the veins of this place, and although I’m a relative newcomer, I can feel that this body is not well. I can feel that familiar illness – it’s the same as any city I’ve ever lived in..

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