Truthout: With the speed of lightning, the coronavirus crisis is waking all of the U.S. up to a reality most Black people have known for decades — our country fails the most marginalized. Our systems were ill-prepared to help everyday people sans pandemic. Now in the midst of one, the sun is shining down on their cavernous cracks created by deep-seated anti-Blackness. The reality is we are a country built on a racist house of cards, and the pandemic is showing us how racism — specifically anti-Blackness — impairs our ability to respond, hurting all of us.
CounterVortex: In Episode 50 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes frightening advances toward a fascist world order amid the COVID-19 crisis. With police-state measures being imposed worldwide, Donald Trump is claiming “total” executive power and threatening to “adjourn” Congress. That he is doing so in the name of lifting rather than enforcing the lockdown is certainly an irony, but either way it represents exploitation of the crisis for a power-grab. Even under a best-case scenario of a post-pandemic return to “normality,” it will be in the context of an unprecedented totaling surveillance state.
The Guardian: A Brazilian judge has banned a group of Christian missionaries from entering a vast Amazon indigenous reserve with the world’s highest concentration of isolated tribes, citing risks from the coronavirus pandemic as one of his reasons. Indigenous leaders and activists hailed the decision as “historic” and expressed hope that it could prevent a genocide in the Javari valley, a remote reserve the size of Austria on Brazil’s western borders.
The Conversation: Cuba has several advantages over many states, including free universal healthcare, the world’s highest ratio of doctors to population, and positive health indicators, such as high life expectancy and low infant mortality. Many of its doctors have volunteered around the world, building up and supporting other countries’ health systems while gaining experience in emergencies. A highly educated population and advanced medical research industry, including three laboratories equipped and staffed to run virus tests, are further strengths.
Medium: But any treatment of the ecological origins of emerging diseases is incomplete without also considering the economic and social conditions that accompany such diseases. In the U.S., where racism and xenophobia are the rule rather than the exception, diseases emerging from countries in the global South and particularly from China trigger existing biases — with horrific results. In the months since the coronavirus outbreak Asian Americans have been targeted by violent racist attacks and at least one person killed. Efforts to keep ourselves and each other safe from the effects of this virus should include confronting and preventing the racism and xenophobia that unfortunately accompany it.