Italy Risks Losing Grip in South With Fear of Looting, Riots

See the source image

By John Follain – 3/30/2020

As Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fights to hold Italian society together through a crippling nationwide lockdown, the depressed south is turning into a powder keg.

Police have been deployed on the streets of Sicily’s capital, Palermo, amid reports gangs are using social media to plot attacks on stores. A bankrupt ferry company halted service to the island, including vital supplies of food and medicines. As the state creaks under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, officials worry the mafia may be preparing to step in.

Preventing unrest in the so-called Mezzogiorno, the underdeveloped southern region that’s long lagged behind the wealthy north, has become the government’s top priority, according to Italian officials who asked not to be named discussing the administration’s strategy.

With the European Union’s most dangerously indebted state already fighting the Germans over the terms of the financial aid it needs, the fallout may reach far beyond Rome if Conte fails.

“We need to act fast, more than fast,” Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando told daily La Stampa. “Distress could turn into violence.”

Read More: Europe Gets No Respite From Lockdowns After Deadly Weekend

As the lockdown enters its fourth week, Conte is set to extend containment measures that have shuttered all but essential businesses until April 18 at the earliest, the officials said. He’s also working on a new stimulus package for mid-April worth at least 30 billion euros ($33 billion), following initial measures worth 25 billion euros, they said.

Italy has the highest death toll from the virus, with more than 11,000 fatalities, and almost 102,000 confirmed cases, second only to the U.S. It reported the smallest number of new coronavirus infections in almost two weeks on Monday.

Read More: Italy Reports Fewest New Coronavirus Cases in Almost 2 Weeks

Calls for Help

Within the aid he’s already announced, Conte is trying to channel funds toward the South. Over the weekend he advanced 4.3 billion euros from a solidarity fund for municipalities and added 400 million euros to mayors that can be converted into coupons for groceries. “No one will be left behind,” the premier said in a televised address.

Still, southern leaders are clamoring for more. They say that cash from the solidarity fund was already due to them and the economic damage from the lockdown has brought their region to the verge of a breakdown.

That opens another front for Conte, who is already struggling to stop the Italian health system from collapsing and fighting the European Union for joint debt issuance to help relieve the financial pressure on his government. Italy’s economic output is set to shrink by 6.5% in 2020, according to research group Prometeia.

The lockdown has hit the 3.7 million Italians working in the underground economy particularly hard since they don’t receive a regular salary and have difficulty accessing unemployment benefits. Many of them are concentrated in the South.

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In the South, “many people live day-to-day, doing odd jobs, like unloading trucks at markets, and they are in trouble,” Stefano Paoloni, a police union leader, said by phone. “We need to be on the alert to see whether there’s organized crime behind social unrest.”

Criminal Gangs

Police have been stationed outside supermarkets in Palermo after at least one group of angry residents refused to pay for their purchases. The private Facebook group National Revolution, which has about 2,600 members, is urging others to stage such raids, according to newspaper la Repubblica. Other social media outlets, including WhatsApp chats, are being monitored, the newspaper said.

Adding to the sense of things breaking down, ferry company Tirrenia CIN on Monday decided to halt all its connections with Sicily, Sardinia and other minor islands because of financial difficulties. The government said in a statement it will ensure that vital goods are delivered.

Read More: Italy’s Links to Sardinia at Risk After Operator Halts Services

Giuseppe Provenzano, who is in charge of the south in Conte’s cabinet, said an emergency handout should also be given to those in the illegal economy. The risk is that organized crime gangs will step in to provide assistance to those in need, filling the gap left by the state.

The government needs to move “without hesitation,” said Graziano Delrio, leader of lower-house lawmakers from the Democratic Party, the second-biggest group in Conte’s coalition. Rome needs “to do whatever’s necessary for the essential needs of families,” he said in an interview.

(Updates with new cases in seventh paragraph.)

Pandemic Historian: Coronavirus ‘a Disease of Globalization’

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) in set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx on March 24, 2020 in New York City. New York …

By John Binder

The Chinese coronavirus “is emphatically a disease of globalization,” a pandemic historian at Yale University says.

In an interview published in the Wall Street Journal, Yale University’s Frank Snowden — a historian who most recently in 2006 published a book about Italy’s eradication of malaria — details how the coronavirus pandemic is threatening the globalist worldview of free movement of people and free trade.

The interview finds the Journal‘s Jason Willick seemingly admits the coronavirus is tainting globalism and pushing Americans and the peoples of Europe toward nationhood:

Yet while the [bubonic] plague saw power move up from villages and city-states to national capitals, the coronavirus is encouraging a devolution of authority from supranational units to the nation-state.  This is most obvious in the European Union, where member states are setting their own responses. Open borders within the EU have been closed, and some countries have restricted export of medical supplies. The virus has heightened tensions between the U.S. and China, as Beijing tries to protect its image and Americans worry about access to medical supply chains. [Emphasis added]

Snowden told the Journal the coronavirus is a direct result of the globalization of the American economy after nearly four decades of free trade policy initiatives:

The coronavirus is threatening “the economic and political sinews of globalization, and causing them to unravel to a certain degree,” Mr. Snowden says. He notes that “coronavirus is emphatically a disease of globalization.” The virus is striking hardest in cities that are “densely populated and linked by rapid air travel, by movements of tourists, of refugees, all kinds of business people, all kinds of interlocking networks.” [Emphasis added]

Globalization, Snowden notes, has driven the coronavirus to majorly impact the wealthiest of Americans.

“Respiratory viruses, Mr. Snowden says, tend to be socially indiscriminate in whom they infect. Yet because of its origins in the vectors of globalization, the coronavirus appears to have affected the elite in a high-profile way,” the Journal piece states. “From Tom Hanks to Boris Johnson, people who travel frequently or are in touch with travelers have been among the first to get infected.”

The infection of thousands of the nation’s rich and upper-middle-class has driven class warfare in regions like the Hamptons in New York where some of the wealthiest, most liberal celebrities own property.

A report by Maureen Callahan for the New York Post chronicles how the working class staff of the Hamptons’ elite are turning on them as those infected disregard rules and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines:

“There’s not a vegetable to be found in this town right now,” says one resident of Springs, a working-class pocket of East Hampton. “It’s these elitist people who think they don’t have to follow the rules.” [Emphasis added]

It’s not just the drastic food shortage out here. Every aspect of life, most crucially medical care, is under strain from the sudden influx of rich Manhattanites panic-fleeing … — and in some cases, knowingly bringing coronavirus. [Emphasis added]

“We’re at the end of Long Island, the tip, and waves of people are bringing this s–t,” says lifelong Montauker James Katsipis. “We should blow up the bridges. Don’t let them in.” [Emphasis added]

While globalization has delivered soaring profits for corporate executives, working- and middle-class American communities have been left behind to grapple with fewer jobs, less industry, stagnant wages, and increase competition in the labor market due to decades-long mass legal immigration.

Since 2001, free trade with China has cost millions of Americans their jobs. For example, the Economic Policy Institute has found that from 2001 to 2015, about 3.4 million U.S. jobs were lost due to the nation’s trade deficit with China.

Of the 3.4 million U.S. jobs lost in that time period, about 2.6 million were lost in the manufacturing industry, making up about three-fourths of the loss of jobs from the U.S.-Chinese trade deficit.

People who brand China a ‘dictatorship’ are jealous that Beijing beat the pandemic, embassy claims

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Commentators refusing to give China credit for containing the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and citing ‘Asian democracies’ as better examples simply envy Beijing’s efficiency, the Chinese embassy in France has said.

China, from which the coronavirus spread throughout the world, has largely succeeded in containing the disease, according to official updates. Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, has recorded no new cases in a week and has been lifting the restrictions that helped quash the pandemic.

Beijing sees the outcome as a success story and finds it irritating when commentators in countries currently overwhelmed by the virus insist they have nothing to learn from the Chinese experience. At least that’s what’s suggested in an article published this week by the Chinese embassy in France, where the Covid-19 death toll may soon exceed China’s.

Negative commenters “envy the efficiency of our political system and hate the inability of their own nations to perform as well. So they try to stick the ‘dictatorship’ label on China,” the embassy said.

Instead, detractors praise ‘Asian democracies’ like South Korea, Japan and Singapore, which have been more successful than Western nations in containing the pandemic. However, China, which resorted to more drastic quarantine measures than those countries, has a much bigger population. So its task in fighting the disease was far more difficult, the article argued. Ultimately, the virus doesn’t care whether it is ravaging a ‘democracy’ or an ‘autocracy.’

With the threat of coronavirus diminishing at home, Beijing has been busy building goodwill and sharing expertise with other nations affected by the pandemic, sending doctors and aid supplies to those in need.

Serbian PM: ‘Fake news’ that we don’t appreciate EU help, but Covid-19 aid came from China

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This ‘mask diplomacy,’ as some commentators call it, has drawn quite a lot of negative feedback on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Critics say the help comes with political strings attached, undermines European solidarity, and damages targeted nations’ relations with the United States.

There is also a popular narrative claiming that China has massively misreported the human cost of containing the pandemic. The latest item to fuel it is the reported delivery of about 2,500 urns to a funeral home in Wuhan.

Links to the urns story inevitably popped up in comments to the Chinese embassy’s Twitter feed, after it published excerpts from the article.

 

Abbott Laboratories Launches 5-Minute Wuhan Virus Test for Use in Nearly All Locations

By Jose Nino – Mar 30, 2020

According to Reuters, Abbott Laboratories recently unveiled a Wuhan virus test that can detect if someone is infected in as few as five minutes.

Additionally, it is small and portable enough to be used in practically all health-care settings.

The medical device manufacturer plans to bring 50,000 test kits to the market starting on April 1, 2020 according to a statement from John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Abbott emergency use authorization “for use by authorized laboratories and patient care settings,” according to a company announcement on March 27, 2020.

The U.S. has had problems to supply sufficient amounts of tests to detect the virus, even as the outbreak is straining hospital resources in California, New York, Washington, and other regions.

“This is really going to provide a tremendous opportunity for front-line caregivers, those having to diagnose a lot of infections, to close the gap with our testing,” Frels stated. “A clinic will be able to turn that result around quickly, while the patient is waiting.”

The technology expands upon Illinois-based Abbott’s ID Now platform, the most common point-of-care test currently available in America. The platform has more than 18,000 units spread across the country. It is generally used to detect influenza, strep throat, and respiratory syncytial virus, a common ailment that generally causes cold-like symptoms.

The equipment can generally be used anywhere, but the company is working with its customers and the Trump administration to guarantee that the first cartridges used to carry out the tests are sent to locations where they are most needed. The prime spots include hospital emergency rooms, urgent-care clinics, and doctors’ offices.

 

 

In Late February, Nancy Pelosi Encouraged Large Groups to Congregate in Chinatown

Yet blamed Trump’s early “denial” for spread of coronavirus.

By Paul Joseph Watson -30 March, 2020

A video clip from late February shows Nancy Pelosi encouraging large groups of people to congregate in San Francisco’s Chinatown before she would later go on to blame President Trump’s early “denial” for the spread of coronavirus.

The footage, which was taken on February 24th, is introduced by a reporter noting how Pelosi wanted residents to understand how it’s “perfectly safe to be here” in Chinatown.

“We do want to say to people, come to Chinatown, here we are…come join us,” said Pelosi.

The reporter then explains how the stunt was a response to San Francisco’s Chinatown experiencing a drop in business since the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

San Francisco has since recorded 340 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5 people have died.

The video is particularly eye opening since yesterday on CNN, Pelosi blamed President Trump’s “denial at the beginning” for the spread of coronavirus throughout the United States.

The video underscores how many officials flouted the very social distancing measures they now amplify because at the time stopping bigotry towards Chinese people was seen as being of greater importance than preventing the spread of coronavirus.

As we previously highlighted, health officials in New York gave identical advice, urging residents to gather in crowds to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

“Today our city is celebrating the #LunarNewYear parade in Chinatown, a beautiful cultural tradition with a rich history in our city,” wrote New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot. “I want to remind everyone to enjoy the parade and not change any plans due to misinformation spreading about #coronavirus.”

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Her message was echoed by Mark D. Levine, Chair of New York City Council health committee, who lauded how “huge crowds gathering in NYC’s Chinatown” was a “powerful show of defiance of #coronavirus scare,” tweeting four images of large groups of people gathered to celebrate the occasion.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio also urged New Yorkers to “get out on the town despite coronavirus” and visit the cinema as late as March 2nd.

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As we highlight in the video below, back in February, leftist officials in Italy were also urging citizens to go outside and hug Chinese people in order to fight racism.

Michigan ER Nurse: ‘It’s Going to Be Just like Italy’

In this photograph taken from behind a window, doctors work on Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit of San Matteo Hospital, in Pavia, northern Italy, Thursday, March 26, 2020. The San Matteo hospital is where Patient 1, a 38-year-old Unilever worker named Mattia, was kept since he tested positive …

By Hannah Bleau – 27 Mar 2020

A Michigan emergency room nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic issued a dire warning and chilling update on the reality of the virus and the strain it is having on hospitals, begging people to stay home and warning that “it’s getting to the point now that it’s going to be just like Italy.”

Mary MacDonald, who works for the Ascension Health System, posted a viral update on Instagram this week, detailing her experience after working at the Southfield location to assist with an influx of patients.

“I’ll have to admit, in being totally transparent, if you had asked me ten-plus days ago if I thought this was going to get as bad as it was, I would have told you no,” she said in the video:

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“I mean, you heard the rumors. You saw the trends. But until you see if first hand, you just have no idea what it’s like — what’s it’s going to be like. And it’s truly frightening,” she continued, explaining that they are now seeing double — even triple — the number of patients coming in, many of whom are not getting tested.

Coming into the hospital, she said, does not serve to benefit a person unless he or she is experiencing “respiratory distress,” and even then, the hospitals are quickly running low on vital supplies to treat those patients — from ventilators to Tylenol.

“It’s getting to the point now that it’s going to be just like Italy. We intubated, from 10:00 p.m. last night to this morning, we intubated two of my patients within a half hour. And upwards of ten patients were put on ventilators. My patient took the last ventilator available in the hospital,” she said, further detailing the chilling new reality.

“Resources are very slim. We have no medications to keep these patients even ventilated, let alone ventilators,” she said. “Medications like fentanyl or propofol that would keep a patient sedated while they’re intubated we’re out of. … We’re out of Tylenol.”

“And that’s not even going back to the fact that we don’t have any ventilators to put these patients on, so we’re going to start making life or death decisions in regards to people’s care,” she said.

“So you’re going to come in and you’re going to get tagged whether you deem necessary to even get intubated, or are you being sent home to die,” she added:

Normally, if a patient was to pass away, it would be because we tried everything that we could, we did everything that we could, we had all the resources and all the people that we needed to help save this patient’s life, and it was just their time. And now, we aren’t giving the patient the time to choose whether it’s their time or not. We’re choosing for them.

“I never wanted to go into a career where I wasn’t able to save everyone,” the nurse said.

“This is truly scary, and nobody is taking it seriously,” she continued, noting the pictures on social media of spring breakers partying on beaches and others not practicing proper social distancing.

Hospitals are also running out of gloves, and medical professionals are forced to reuse masks “because we are completely out of resources,” MacDonald continued.

“There are no masks. There are no gowns. They’re running low on gloves because everyone has panicked and stockpiled this so that medical staff doesn’t have it,” she said, showing the camera the brown paper bag she uses to transport her mask to and from work.

“We cannot stay safe, and we cannot care for all of these people that are coming in because no one is taking this seriously. And I am being super transparent. I was one of those people that wasn’t taking it seriously,” she said.

“But I’m here to tell you that you need to. We are literally making life and death decisions for people,” MacDonald added, begging people to heed her advice and stay home.

“Stay home with your loved ones. Don’t go out. Don’t go to the grocery store. Don’t go through the drive-thrus. Don’t do anything that could put you at risk to have to see me at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “I’m telling you it’s not worth it. And I don’t know what I can do to save people anymore, and that is something I’ve never wanted to say in my entire career.”

Her warning comes as Michigan emerges as one of the United States’ latest coronavirus hotspots, with nearly 3,000 confirmed cases and 60 related deaths, including a Detroit mother of four.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has issued stringent stay-at-home orders, which prohibit “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household.”

 

Funny???

By Mark Dice – 3/27/2020

Deep down, everyone knows this simple truth: Hollywood and the MSM are completely outdated and unnecessary.

Hey MSM, you got coronavirus as another opportunity to roast Trump… but do the polls agree?

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President Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been slammed by the mainstream media, with certain networks opting not to air his daily press briefings due to “misinformation.” But polls say the public disagrees.

The Washington Post has been fiercely critical of Trump since long before his election. Yet as the paper described his administration as barrelling “toward calamity” this week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll recorded Trump’s highest ever approval rating, with 48 percent of respondents giving the president the thumbs-up, compared to 46 percent disapproving.

That’s the first time Trump has scored positively on the Post’s poll, but when it comes to his handling of the ongoing pandemic which has killed more than 1,300 Americans thus far, the president’s results are even better. Fifty-one percent approve of his stewardship, while 45 percent don’t.

The results are played out across the board. Polls from Fox News, the Economist, Reuters, Gallup, Emerson and Axios all show positive results for Trump. Gallup’s poll found that 60 percent of Americans support Trump’s response to the crisis, while only 38 percent disapprove. Trump’s handling of the crisis has translated into a record high job approval rating in an average of national polls.

Yet the media tells a different story. President Trump’s daily press briefings are – to quote one NPR station in Seattle – so full of “false or misleading information” that the station will no longer air them.

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Staff at CNN and MSNBC have reportedly pleaded with network bosses to drop coverage of the briefings, and the New York Times ran a column on Thursday wondering aloud “should networks cover them?” Individual news personalities have excoriated the president for allegedly spreading baloney. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said on her show this week that if Trump “keeps lying…it’s going to cost lives.”

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But the public isn’t listening. The same Gallup poll whose respondents rated Trump at 60 percent found that out of all the institutions responding to the pandemic, Americans rated the news media the worst, with only 44 percent of Americans expressing any trust in it. Even Congress, a perennially unpopular institution in these kinds of surveys, scored higher than the media.

Trump’s bump in popularity can possibly be explained by the “wartime president” effect. In times of great crisis, the electorate tends to put partisan politics aside and rally around their leader. At least that’s how the theory goes. No US president has ever lost a re-election bid during wartime, and Trump has certainly attempted to portray the Covid-19 pandemic as a warlike situation. Describing the virus as an “invisible enemy,” Trump told reporters last week that “I view it as a, in a sense, a wartime president.” Whether Trump manages to keep the public on side as the death toll climbs, however, depends on his actions in the coming weeks.

The public’s falling trust in the media is a slightly more difficult trend to explain. The public’s confidence in journalism has been falling for the better part of a decade, yet the current crisis seems to have exacerbated the downward trend. For one thing, the general public could be tired of the media crying wolf too many times. Rachel Maddow, for instance, raised concern about Trump’s “misinformation,” yet cable news viewers will remember Maddow’s own spreading of bogus ‘Russiagate’ conspiracies during the first three years of Trump’s presidency.

Likewise, the public expects reporters to hold their leaders to account. Given the gravity of the coronavirus situation, the media could be grilling Trump on any number of issues, from his plan to reopen the American economy in a matter of weeks, to the breakdown of the $2 trillion stimulus bill he may sign shortly, to his reluctance to actually enforce the Defense Production Act to manufacture vital medical equipment.

Yet when reporters choose to scold Trump for “racism instead, the general public learns nothing new.

Trump’s gripes with the media are long-standing. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic seems to be winning more and more Americans over to his side.

TEXAS ORDERS 14-DAY QUARANTINE FOR NY-NJ-CT & NEW ORLEANS TRAVELERS

Texas Orders 14-Day Quarantine For NY-NJ-CT & New Orleans Travelers

The Big Apple is Coronavirus epicenter of the US, with cases flaring up in New Orleans as well

By Kit Daniels – March 27, 2020

Texas is now requiring air travelers from Coronavirus hotspots to quarantine for 14 days.

Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – the tri-state area around New York City – and from New Orleans to isolate themselves for no less than 14 days and may only have direct contact with health care providers.

Abbott’s executive order came in response to White House recommending anyone who just visited the New York City area to self-quarantine as the Big Apple is Coronavirus epicenter of the US.

“Every person who enters the State of Texas as the final destination through an airport, from a point of origin or point of last departure in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the City of New Orleans, or in any other state or city as may be proclaimed hereafter, shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter,” Abbott declared.
“This order to self-quarantine shall not apply to people traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.”

“Each person covered under this order to self-quarantine shall be responsible for all associated costs, including
transportation, lodging, food, and medical care.”

Affected travelers are to notify the Texas Dept. of Public Safety of their quarantine location upon disembarking from their flight, the executive order added.

A order will likely to reduce air travel severely from these areas.

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