Monday, March 16, 2020

To Slow Spread Of Coronovirus, End Iran Sancttions

On 3/13/20 in Foreign Policy Focus, Ariel Gold and Medea Benjamin argue that to improve the global coronavirus problem, sanctions on Iran should be lifted, quite aside from the fact they should never have been imposed in the first place as Iran was adhering to the JCPOA nuclear deal.

The effect of the sanctions has been to tank the Iranian economy, including its health care sector, much worsening the coronavirus epidemic in Iran, thus making it more likely to spread to the global pandemic. The Iranian rial has fallen by 80 percent, making it far harder to purchase medical equipment from abroad.  This has not only aggravated the coronavirus situation but also that of many other diseases as well. As of March 13, there were 11,362 reported cases and 514 deaths.

Of course this is aggravated by the Iranian regime imitating those of China (initially) and the US (until very recently) in denying the conditions in their country and being slow to act with testing and other measures. But the bad behavior of the regime does not justify the US and others acting to worsen the health crisis in Iran, which makes it more likely to spread its problems elsewhere as well.

Barkley Rosser


Anonymous said...

Dear Barkley Rosser,

Thank you, thank you, so very much for this necessary moral plea. Sanctions against Iran must be immediately removed. Continuing the sanctions, each day is a crime against humanity.

"End Iran Sanctions"

I am with Barkley Rosser.

Anonymous said...


Iran's COVID-19 death toll increases to 853

Iran's death toll from COVID-19 has reached 853 with 129 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the country's Health Ministry said on Monday, adding that 14,991 people have been infected across Iran.

To contain the outbreak in Iran, one of the worst affected countries outside of China, officials have called on people to stay at home.

Anonymous said...

March 17, 2020

Favipiravir 'very effective' against COVID-19, clinical trials show
By Gong Zhe

A medicine called "Favipiravir" has been tested "very effective" against the world-sweeping COVID-19 caused by novel coronavirus, an official from China's sci-tech department in Beijing announced on Tuesday.

"A clinical trial was conducted in Shenzhen, which involves 80 patients," said Zhang Xinmin, head of China National Center for Biotech Development.

The medicine can shorten the recovery time from 11 days to four days for mild and regular cases, the trial showed.

Another trial in Wuhan found the medicine can also shorten fever duration from an averaged 4.2 days to 2.5 days.

What's more, no significant side effects were observed.

"Favipiravir has been in the Japanese market since 2014 and we see no obvious side effects either," Zhang told reporters during a government presser.

Not much information was provided for the trials of other medicines, including Remdesivir, which was given to a lot of hope weeks ago but now discovered to have certain side effects.

The sequelae of COVID-19 are still unclear as more medical observation is required....

Anonymous said...

First Squawk @FirstSquawk



3:28 AM · Mar 17, 2020

Anonymous said...

March 17, 2020

21 new COVID-19 cases, 13 more deaths reported on Chinese mainland

A total of 21 new cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed on the Chinese mainland as of midnight on Monday, with 13 more deaths, according to China's National Health Commission.

The total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland stands at 80,881, while the cumulative death toll is now at 3,226.

On the same day, Chinese health authorities said 930 patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 68,679.

Another 20 cases of infections contracted outside China were also reported – nine in Beijing, three in Guangdong Province, three in Shanghai, while Zhejiang, Shandong, Yunan and Shaanxi Provinces, and Guangxi Autonomous Region all reported one case each.

The total number of imported cases originating outside China now stands at 143.

The numbers of confirmed cases in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and China's Taiwan region are as follows:

Hong Kong: 157 (88 recovered, 4 dead)

Macao: 11 (10 recovered)

Taiwan: 67 (22 recovered, 1 dead)

Hubei-Wuhan new cases

Chinese mainland recovered and new cases

Chinese mainland total remaining cases

Anonymous said...

March 17, 2020

Latest on coronavirus outbreak around the globe: WHO says cases outside China hit 86,434

Confirmed cases of coronavirus outside China rose by 13,874 to 86,434, death toll by 848 to 3,388, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest daily situation report.

As of 10:00 a.m. CET (0900 GMT) on Monday, the total number of infections around the world stood at 167,511, with 6,606 deaths.

Countries outside China and China new confirmed cases

Countries outside China and China total confirmed cases

ken melvin said...

White House Takes New Line After Dire Report on Death Toll

Federal guidelines warned against gatherings of more than 10 people as a London report predicted high fatalities in the U.S. without drastic action. said...

Thanks for the updates, Anonymous. I note the relatively good performance of Taiwan, especially given its location. They stand out for having been the first in the world to move to start testing and isolating those with it back in December when the earliest reports came out of Wuhan at the time when the Beijing government was arresting people who were doing that reporting and denying they had a problem. Taiwan's success highlights the importance of timing in terms of beginning to do serious testing and more broadly acting, where both the US and Iran have also lagged unfortunately.


UK is following some dangerous policy of "get everybody infected right away" so as to get some group immunity first. The problem is this threatens to have a huge surge of cases that will totally overwhelm the hospitals and respirator capacity, leading to many more dying, including people with other ailments who are unable to get care because of the surge of Covid-19 patients, with this currently happening in Italy.

Anonymous said...

Beijing government was arresting people....

[ This is completely false; horribly, horribly, horribly false.

The New England Journal of Medicine has the timeline:

January 29, 2020

Onset of Illness among the First 425 Confirmed Cases of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–Infected Pneumonia (NCIP) in Wuhan, China.

The decline in incidence after January 8 is likely to be due to delays in diagnosis and laboratory confirmation. China CDC denotes Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, NHC National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, PCR polymerase chain reaction, WHC Wuhan Health Commission, and WHO World Health Organization. *


Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia ]

Anonymous said...

Beijing government was arresting people....

[ No one was ever arrested. No one.

The problem that was developing in Wuhan was reported to city authorities and was reported in the Chinese and international press in short order in December when physicians noticed a cluster of pneumonia patients. National authorities were alerted quickly. A medical investigation was begun. The virus was gene sequenced in an astonishingly short time and the World Health Organization was alerted and given the gene sequence.

Among the physicians reporting on the illness in December, Dr. Li Wenliang was told by local police to stop spreading rumors but Dr. Li did not stop warning about the possible danger of the pneumonia cases and indeed poster about that on the Chinese internet. There was never any arrest and Li was not deterred while other doctors independently were reporting on what they observed and feared and were listened to by the authorities.

Beijing arrest no one, ever and national authorities reacted quickly and responsibly and as is now clear decisively.

Beijing sent more than 42,000 medics to Hubei Province.

Beijing as WHO has made clear repeatedly was open, transparent, sharing of necessary information and effective. ]

Anonymous said...

December 31, 2019

Chinese officials investigate cause of pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan
By Reuters

A team of experts from the National Health Commission is in Wuhan to carry out tests, state broadcaster CCTV said....


By December 31, the National Health Commission and Centers for Disease Control were investigating the pneumonia cases in Wuhan. Gene sequencing was completed by January 3 and the WHO was informed by the National Health Commission. By January 3, surrounding regions and countries were informed of the pneumonia findings. ]

Anonymous said...

By January 10, the gene sequence was made public and was given to WHO along with diagnostic testing reagents....

Anonymous said...

March 4, 2020

Inside China’s All-Out War on the Coronavirus
Dr. Bruce Aylward, of the W.H.O., got a rare glimpse into Beijing’s campaign to stop the epidemic. Here’s what he saw.
By Donald G. McNeil Jr.

As the leader of the World Health Organization team that visited China, Dr. Bruce Aylward feels he has been to the mountaintop — and has seen what’s possible.

During a two-week visit in early February, Dr. Aylward saw how China rapidly suppressed the coronavirus outbreak that had engulfed Wuhan, and was threatening the rest of the country....

Anonymous said...

February 6, 2020

Ringing the alarm
By Fan Wei, Yang Cheng and Cui Meng - Wuhan

Wuhan doctor awarded for making first warning of novel disease before outbreak

Zhang Jixian is considered the first doctor to report the novel coronavirus before its outbreak. She works as the director of respiratory and critical care medicine department of the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine....

Anonymous said...

March 5, 2020

Virus whistleblower Li Wenliang among outstanding medics posthumously honored for fighting coronavirus

Anonymous said...

First Squawk @FirstSquawk


1:36 PM · Mar 17, 2020

[ Returning to the tragedy motivating Berkley Rosser's critically important post. ]

Anonymous said...

January 5, 2020

Pneumonia of unknown cause – China
Disease outbreak news

On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. As of 3 January 2020, a total of 44 patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology have been reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. Of the 44 cases reported, 11 are severely ill, while the remaining 33 patients are in stable condition....

Anonymous said...

Andrew Rambaut @arambaut

Here are the details of the genomes released today. To download them you must create a GISAID account and agree to the GISAID agreement:

[ ]

3:59 AM · Jan 12, 2020 said...

Fair enough, Anonymous, Li Wneliang was not "arrested." He was taken to Wuhan Police HQ on Jan. 3 and warned not to further "spread rumors" and was threatened with prosecution if he did soi. It looks that he did not post anything futher until Jan. 30, by which time, as you note, the Chinese government had agreed Cov9d-19 was for real and was moving against it.

There were apparently also 8 others who were taken to WuhanPolice HQ in early January and accused od being "rumormongers" for reporting on what was going on. I guess technically they also were not "arrested," but this was pretty close to being so, being taken to police HQ and interrogated and threatened with prosecution. This episode is not something the Chinese government should be proud of, and apparently there has been no official apology for any of this, although after his death Li Wenliang was honored for his work. said...


It may be that the PRC acted fairly rapidly, but it is also the case that Taiwan acted far more rapidly and effectively, imediately beginning to test people coming from Wuhan as of Dec. 31, 2019, the date of the first report out of Wuhan, which the PRC government was slower to act on, suppressing those who reported what was going on several days later, while the Taiwanese government was already in full action to deal with it.

The upshot is that as of Mach 10, Taiwan had only 50 cases and one death, a far lower per capita rate than any of its neighbors. It may be that there has been excessive foreign criticism of the PRC reactions, but Taiwan has clearly handled it better, about as well as any nation.

Anonymous said...

China informed the World Health Organization of a cluster of pneumonia cases on December 31, 2019. So too, on December 31, the world press was informed and the Chinese press and the information was immediately printed:

January 5, 2020

Pneumonia of unknown cause – China
Disease outbreak news

On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. As of 3 January 2020, a total of 44 patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology have been reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. Of the 44 cases reported, 11 are severely ill, while the remaining 33 patients are in stable condition. According to media reports, the concerned market in Wuhan was closed on 1 January 2020 for environmental sanitation and disinfection....

[ The Chinese all together acted properly and heroically, and indeed there were zero new cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan or Hubei on March 18, 2020 and zero new domestic cases in all mainland China. The outbreak has been controlled.

Respect and gratitude is deserved. ]

Anonymous said...

It looks that he did not post anything further until Jan. 30...

[ In fact, Li Wenliang posted on Weibo on January 3, 2020. Li was a hero and has been recognized as such, and those who criticized him been formally disciplined. There were however other heroes and, in all, the world was formally alerted to the danger of the Wuhan pneumonia cluster by China on December 31, 2019. Additionally, the US was expressly informed on January 3, 2020. ]

Anonymous said...

March 19, 2020

China first updated U.S. over coronavirus on Jan. 3: FM spokeswoman

In response to Washington's accusation of a cover-up, China's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that China first notified the U.S. government about the novel coronavirus on January 3.

"China has been updating the US on the coronavirus and its response since Jan. 3. On Jan. 15 the US State Department notified Americans in China US CDC's warning about the coronavirus. And now blame China for delay? Seriously?" Hua Chunying said in a tweet.

The remarks came after U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien accused China of covering up information about the outbreak and delaying global response. said...

Well, there seems at a minimum to be some disjuncture between levels. There was some notification of some sort of new pneumonia virus to outside authorities, although not with much alarm apparently, with at the same time Li Wenliang and some others being suppressed in talking about it, even as some others, notably the Taiwanese government began reacting to it immediately in terms of testing and isolating specific individuals.

There is also the further matter of the lack of action extending through the Lunar New Year celebrations well into January, a good two to three weeks after these initial reports, with people even being allowed to travel out of Wuhan at the end of those celebrations. This can be understood, but in retrospect this was very careless and clearly helped spread it to other parts of China, although as of today apparently there are no new infections initially spread, so it is getting under control.

China's conduct is not as bad as the Trumpsters are claiming, with Trump becoming quite outrageous with his constant repetition of "Chinese virus" in this latest briefing, even as he delayed doing anything for many weeks aside from limiting people coming from China on Jan. 31, which he seems to think was a heroic big deal.

But places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea all seem to have responded to this more quickly and more effectively than the PRC and without suppressing anybody reporting on it. said...

Looking at it carefully, I think the biggest mistake the PRC made was not recognizing until about the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations about three weeks into January that SARS-CoV-2, to use what is apparently its most officially correct name, can be transmitted between people. Claiming this was what got Li and others in trouble rarly in January.

I am not sure why they were slow to make this realization, which I view as a mistake, not something nefarious as some in the US are claiming. Clearly once they figured it out they reacted forcefully and with substantial effect. said...

Today is the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, which falls on the vernal equinox. Also today, Mike Pompeo announced heightened sanctions on Iran, making it harder to make bank transfers and thus restricting further its ability to buy medical supplies from abroad. This is indefensible and shameful. said...

I have now seen a report that some in the Trump admin, especially Pompeo and Grenell, recently argued for a major attack on Iran while it is down due to the Covi-19, in retaliation for an attack in Iraq by a pro-Iran militia. Apparently SecDef Esper and Jared Kushner managed to concince Trump this was not a wise idea at this time.