21 May 2020 Daily Digest of COVID-19 News and Analysis

IN ITS ZEAL TO BLAME CHINA FOR CORONAVIRUS, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS THWARTING INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE PANDEMIC’S ORIGINS (19 MAY 2020)

The Intercept: For weeks, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been claiming without evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic is linked to a lab in Wuhan that researches bat coronaviruses. Their efforts are clearly calculated to distract from Trump’s bungled response to the virus, and, for rational observers, they have tainted the notion that the outbreak began with a lab accident or safety breach.

THERE’S A LOT LESS POLLUTION BUT CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL GETTING WORSE (19 MAY 2020)

Mother Jones: If you’ve imagined that slowing the emission of greenhouse gases was a silver lining from the pandemic, I am sorry to bring bad news: The planet is still breaking climate change records. Yes, even though the most conservative estimates anticipate historic declines in carbon emissions this year, the atmosphere continues to be loading up on too much carbon. Skies may be temporarily less polluted because so many of us are staying at home, but carbon lingers and traps heat in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years.

VIRUS HEADS UPRIVER IN BRAZIL AMAZON, SICKENS NATIVE PEOPLE (17 MAY 2020)

AP News: MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — In the remote Amazon community of Betania, Tikuna tribe members suspect the coronavirus arrived this month after some returned from a two-hour boat trip down the Solimoes River to pick up their government benefit payments.

THE CORONAVIRUS IS NOT GOOD FOR NATURE (14 MAY 2020)

AljazeeraIt has been all over the media for weeks now: Nature has “hit the reset button”. “Animals are taking over,” read countless upbeat posts on Twitter. With billions of humans forced to stay home across the world, as the COVID-19 outbreak ravages lives and livelihoods, wildlife appears to be making a comeback. Every day sees fresh reports of nature taking this unprecedented time, when a third of the global population is on lockdown, to reclaim spaces long ago colonised by humans.

CUBA’S RESILIENCE THROUGH ECONOMIC CRISIS PREPARED IT FOR COVID HEALTH CRISIS (13 MAY 2020)

Truthout: In times of crisis, who we are is revealed. That is true of people and of nations. What COVID-19 has exposed — not created — is a deeply flawed and inequitable society. The truths of how race and class intersect to shorten the existence of some in our society are now laid bare for all to see. The collapse of structures that were barely holding on have revealed how inadequate they were to begin with. The failure of many states to prevent, protect against and help contain an illness that was known about for months shows how concerns over loss of capital took priority over our lives. And it is this capitalist approach to administering government that is perpetuating the same harms and ensuring a continuous crisis for communities most devastated by the pandemic of our lifetime.

COVID-19 PUTS THE HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER FRONT AND CENTRE (22 APRIL 2020)

National Observer: The current coronavirus pandemic is greatly exacerbated by the global water crisis and adds urgency to the fight for the human right to water. Even before COVID-19 struck, the United Nations called water scarcity “the scourge of the earth.” At current rates of depletion and pollution, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s people are likely to be living in water-stressed areas. Every day, more than two billion people around the world are forced to drink contaminated water. Diarrhea caused by contaminated water and poor sanitation kills a child under five years old every two minutes.

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