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This Week in the World

This Week in COVID-19 | 4.20.2020

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Sweden Could Succeed In Bet On Voluntary Approach

by Hal Conte

Despite making social distancing voluntary and not shutting down businesses or schools, including school sports leagues, Sweden’s coronavirus death rate per capita has remained close to the European average, including countries where far stricter measures have been applied. The average age of the dead is 81 and 20 percent of ICUs remain unoccupied. Swedes’ willingness to voluntarily self-isolate and reduce trips has had a similar effect in reducing death rates without requiring a total economic shutdown, however, less libertarian models have done well in China and Vietnam. 

Image source: Abaca Press


World Body Calls For Green Response To Coronavirus

by Hal Conte

The Club of Rome, a group which brings together UN bureaucrats, current and former heads of government, economists, and businesspeople, called on world leaders to “build a new global economy that ensures an equitable, inclusive and sustainable future for all,” by instituting programs such as the circular economy and reforestation. The organization, famous for warning the public of environmental disaster in the 1970s, claimed that only international cooperation and a universal income for the world’s poorest could lead to a real economic reset.

Image source: Club of Rome


German Lawyer Opposed To Lockdown Detained

by Hal Conte

Beate Bahner, a constitutional lawyer who has won three cases before Germany’s highest court and is the author of five medical law books, was thrown into a psychiatric hospital and detained after calling for mass demonstrations against the country’s lockdown, which she described as a “disproportionate” response to the amount of deaths it would cause compared to the constitutional rights it would imperil. She was released days later, although her case continues to be prosecuted by authorities. Protestors have assembled against the Berlin government in response to the incident.

Image source: UK Column


Kidnapped Doctors Without Borders Staff Let Free In Congo

by Hal Conte

Four MSF staff including a project coordinator tasked with mitigating the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo kidnapped by unknown armed forces were released on Sunday in the village of Nsimbi. The Congo already has 327 confirmed infections and 27 deaths, and Ebola in the country was only declared to have ended in the country on April 12. The freeing of the staff came following negotiations between the NGO, local authorities and the violent group.

Image source: Reuters


Racist Attacks Against Singapore Students Over Coronavirus

by Hal Conte

A student from Singapore and a student from Malaysia were attacked by two provocateurs in Melbourne, Australia, who shouted “coronavirus” repeatedly as they hurled death threats at the two young women, aged 18 and 20, who were told to “go back to China.” One of the student’s AirPods was stolen by a third person not involved with the assault. University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell condemned the incident as “disgusting.” Hate against people of Asian descent and Chinese people specifically has skyrocketed around the globe since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Image source: FARRAGO Magazine


Tanzania President Magufuli Shuts Schools But Keeps Shops Open

by Hal Conte

President of Tanzania John Magufuli is going against the grain in Africa, as he has declined to close businesses and public transportation or impose curfews, saying, “I’m sure this is just a change of wind and it will go like others have gone,” and adding that three daays of national prayer would cure the virus. The country had 147 cases as of Monday with five deaths. Schools and universities have closed, however. 

Image source: Ericky Boniphace