A roundup of articles on the status of the Coronavirus and ways we can help….
“We’re on Our Knees Here”
Shirley Watts, an operating theatre nurse at a hospital in Basildon, posted a video to a Facebook group after a long and difficult shift in ICU treating patients with coronavirus.
Healthcare Worker Broke Down Crying After Neighbours Applauded Her Leaving For Work
Truth Theory, 2020/04/1
Tayla Porter, a Healthcare worker from Basingstoke in England, was left stunned after everyone in her street gave her a standing ovation when she left for work.
A video of the scene from last week Thursday has now gone viral.
Healthcare workers across the world have unselfishly been putting themselves on the front-line during the coronavirus pandemic.
In many cases, their chances of contracting the potentially deadly virus are increased due the lack of protective gear available.
How did the idea come about?
The coronavirus crisis has placed a huge strain on England’s NHS (National Health Service).
As a way for the public to show their appreciation, it was decided that a collective applauding of NHS would occur last week Thursday.
That incidentally was the last occasion Prime Minister Boris Johnson was seen in public before he announced that he had contracted the coronavirus.
The time set for the national clap of appreciation was 8pm.
The issue was that Ms Porter was due to depart for work at 4pm.
So her neighbours decided instead to give the paramedic a personal send off.
It was a very touching moment for the 22-year-old Tayla and her whole family.
Will the coronavirus layoffs resurrect MLK’s push for a universal basic income?
Tonyaa Weathersbee, Memphis Commercial Appeal, April 3, 2020
Were it not for the novel coronavirus pandemic, the National Civil Rights Museum would be teeming with visitors peering at the balcony where, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. took his last breath.
But King wouldn’t have wanted people to risk their lives to honor his.
That’s why, instead of commemorating King with a ceremony in front of Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel on Saturday, the museum is doing a virtual program on his life at 6:01 p.m. That was the exact time he was shot; the hour that the pain of his loss began to reverberate around the nation.
Yet while King was killed 52 years ago, the upheaval caused by novel coronavirus is resurrecting a main idea he laid out to battle poverty and the fragility of capitalism.
That idea? A universal basic income.
While Andrew Yang, former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, made that a cornerstone of his campaign — he advocated that each American get $1,000 a month largely to stave off displacements caused by technology — King called for the same thing years ago.
But in Memphis, where the hospitality industry is a major job engine, layoffs and furloughs have beset workers in restaurants, hotels and bars, where tourists go. Beale Street and Graceland have been closed because the crowds could spread a virus that could kill them in their search for food, fun and selfies.
Workers in that industry, as well as others, haven’t been displaced by robots doing their jobs, but by a virus disrupting their workplaces and demolishing their livelihoods.
Yet King, who called his idea a guaranteed income, viewed it as a means of giving all Americans a way to avoid descending into poverty if they lost their incomes, or if the incomes they earned kept them impoverished. That income would help them take care of basics, such as food and housing.
In his 1967 book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” King wrote: “I’m now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”
He further wrote:
“Earlier in the century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation as destructive of initiative and responsibility … Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people to idleness and bind them into constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent.
“We also never know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty.”Right now, at least, fewer Americans are looking at the idea of a guaranteed income with ridicule. Most polls and surveys on the idea have been split between favorable and unfavorable.
A September 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey, for example, found that 51% of registered voters opposed the idea, while 49% supported it.
That 51%, however, represented a drop of six points from February of 2019 — while 72% of registered voters aged 18 to 34 supported the idea.
To be sure, others, such as economist Milton Friedman, laid out the idea of a universal basic income before King.
However, King’s advocacy of it was rooted mostly in the elimination of poverty and inequality that, along with discrimination and segregation, disproportionately dogged African-Americans.
Obviously, the issue is complicated. But what’s not complicated is this: People who aren’t worried about how they are going to pay for food, housing and health care are in more of a position to innovate and to create, and to move the nation forward.
They won’t have to, in the midst of a pandemic, force themselves to go to work sick and possibly sicken others, when they need to stay home.
In other words, they can focus on thriving and not surviving.
Safety nets have holes – the need for a Universal Basic Income…
Harry Green, Slugger O’Toole.com, April 4, 2020
The time has come in the UK for a Universal Basic Income (UBI). Recently open democracy published a letter signed by senior members of the NHS, MPs, academics and members of the charity sectors calling for a UBI.
As the letter states traditional social security policies always leave gaps. The benefits system is supposed to act as a safety net, but all nets have holes. Some people who are in insecure work, self-employed or who’ve been ill often fall through the holes in the welfare system leaving them at risk of receiving no benefits or waiting months for benefits to be paid.
The UK welfare system is complex, labyrinthine mix of services. Sometimes deliberately so. The administration costs are huge. A UBI would reduce administration costs significantly. The introduction of a UBI would mean that people who suddenly lose their jobs won’t have to go through the complex, lengthy and sometimes demeaning process of applying for benefits.
There are also multiple benefits of a UBI to individuals, business and the economy as a whole. These include;
- Entrepreneurship – a UBI has the potential to stimulate entrepreneurship and the willingness of people to take career risks such as starting a new business.
- Student support – addresses the need for student finance and to support students during their studies
- Social Care – we have a social care crisis in the UK. A UBI supports people who choose to stay at home to care for loved ones.
- Maternity – a UBI could support new mothers and helps address the financial hardship often associated with maternity leave
- Homelessness – a guaranteed regular income for the homeless could provide basic needs and may provide them with the ability to rebuild their lives.
- Employment rights and empowerment – a safety net of a UBI protects employees from unscrupulous employers and being forced to remain in jobs or roles they hate
Some criticisms levelled at the idea of a UBI include that it disincentives work and would be too expensive. Setting a UBI at or around the minimum wage should provide incentives for most people to work yet keep people above the poverty line. It will force employers exploiting zero-hour contracts and the minimum wage to improve terms and conditions. Using changes to taxation and for example changes to tax free income levels could address the issue of affordability.
The NHS was born out of a great crisis in the UK. Maybe this current crisis could see the birth of a UBI.
104-year-old World War II Veteran Beats Coronavirus
Nate Church, Breitbart, 2 Apr. 2020
William “Bill” Lapschies celebrated his 104th birthday and his victory over the novel coronavirus on Wednesday.
Lapschies’ birthday was extra special this year, though the party may have been a little different than past bashes. “We celebrated his 101 and had over 200 people. So trying to keep our social distancing and do what Governor Brown has asked us to do,” his daughter, Carolee Brown, said. “But we’re so thrilled he’s recovered from this and we just had to do something for him.”
The Lebanon, Oregon, man grew “very, very sick” after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus — officially classified “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization — on March 5. The dedicated staff of the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home offered him constant care, suited up in gloves, gowns, masks and plastic face shields.
As of this week, a Veterans Affairs spokeperson declared that Lapschies “has met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered from COVID-19,”
“It seemed like he just made this wonderful recovery,” Brown said. “We were like shocked that he was kind of sitting in his wheelchair waving at us through the window and we were like, ‘He’s gonna make it!’”
“Bill’s pretty resilient,” son-in-law Jim Brown said. The 104-year-old World War II veteran survived Nazis, the Spanish flu, and more than one recession in his century of life, and is still going strong. His family hopes his victory can encourage others to do the same. “We hope that this will inspire some of the other people that are going through this,” Brown said. “And we’re really excited and looking forward to 105.”
So, how does it feel? “Pretty good. I made it,” Lapschies said, before adding he was “good for a few more.”
Coronavirus cease-fire offers pause in Yemen war
Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, March 27, 2020
Yemen’s warring parties have agreed to their first nationwide cease-fire in four years, part of an effort to fend off calamity should the war-ravaged nation controlled by rival governments be struck by the coronavirus pandemic. No COVID-19 cases have been documented in Yemen so far, but the World Health Organization has warned of an imminent explosion in the number of cases.
The acceptance of a cease-fire by the domestic protagonists and their regional backers was in response to the UN secretary-general’s March 25 call for an immediate end to hostilities. This week marked the fifth anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention against Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.
Yet the early signs were hardly promising. The Saudi-led Arab coalition said today that it had intercepted and destroyed three drones launched by Houthi rebels targeting civilians in the towns of Abha and Khamis Mushait in Saudi Arabia.
Repeated efforts at brokering a truce have failed. Since the start of this year, fighting has escalated anew, tipping the balance in the Houthis’ favor. The rebels, who call themselves Ansar Allah, have advanced on Marib, the last stronghold and economic lifeline of Yemen’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
The International Crisis Group warned in a briefing that “an all-out battle for Marib could precipitate an enormous humanitarian disaster, as the province hosts at least 800,000 Yemenis already displaced from homes elsewhere. It could also scotch already dwindling chances of a nationwide de-escalation that in turn could lead to talks to end the war.”
The conflict, which has broadly pitted a Saudi-led coalition backed by the UAE, the United States and Great Britain against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, has resulted in what the UN calls the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
Both the Houthi rebels and the GNA announced flight bans the week before last to staunch the spread of coronavirus. But the Red Cross said it expected aid deliveries to continue via air and sea.
Yemen’s shattered hospitals cannot cope with the pandemic, health groups warn. Yemen-based Mwatana for Human Rights and the New York-based Physicians for Human Rights documented attacks on health care facilities. In a March 18 report, they stated, “One of the most distinctive — and devastating — abuses of the conflict has been attacks on medical infrastructure and health workers.”
“Saudi-Emirati-led coalition forces have primarily destroyed and damaged hospitals, clinics, vaccination centers and other medical points through aerial attacks.”
According to the Yemen Data Project, which monitors the conflict, nearly a third of all 20,000-plus coalition bombing raids to date have hit civilian infrastructure.
Kristine Beckerle, the legal director for accountability and redress at Mwatana for Human Rights, told Al-Monitor, “Since the period covered by the report, further health facilities have been attacked, further health workers have been harassed, and aid has been blocked and impeded over and over again — and now there is a global pandemic to contend with.” Beckerle added, “The health system is collapsed, people are already sick and starving, and until now, the warring parties, Ansar Allah, the Saudi-UAE coalition, the Yemeni government have gravely exacerbated all the above.”
Children are among the worst affected as cholera and diphtheria swept across the country, claiming thousands of lives. The UN estimates that around 2 million Yemeni children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and disease. As of the 2019 school year, at least as many were out of school as a result of the conflict.
At least 100,000 people have died since the start of the war.