A year after COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, Americans there – look back at the U.S.


NBC News

Benjamin Wilson, a Louisiana native who lives in the Chinese city where the Covid-19 virus was first identified a year ago, is watching the unfolding crisis back home with disappointment.

“I would be very afraid if I were living in the States,” said Wilson, who has lived in Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Hubei province, for almost two decades. “I didn’t really think that I would be where I’m at now, worried more about my family than myself.”

The contrast between his homeland and his adopted home is stark, the English teacher said. Although he endured more than 70 days of strict lockdown, that at times made him feel almost “imprisoned,” being shuttered indoors was a sacrifice that has paid off, he said.

Now, Wuhan is “one of the safest places in the world,” he added.

If we lived in a nation that treasured science, education, healthcare more than the quest for the almighty dollar$…I might question what the English teacher in China is seeing. But, we witness, every day, every week, here in the GOUSA, exactly what is discussed in this article from NBC News. Not at all surprising to any globally well-read American.

Brief note for coffee lovers

Starbucks is planning to open 600 new stores in China next year, thus operating 6,000 stores across 230 cities by the end of 2022.
Source: Pandaily newsletter

So, if you’re an American traveling in China, pretty good odds you’ll be able to hook up with your favorite addiction.

🙂

Asia forms world’s biggest trade bloc — “U.S. being left behind”


Kham/Reuters

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Monday it was concerned the United States was being left behind after 15 Asia-Pacific economies on Sunday formed the world’s largest free-trade bloc, cementing China’s dominant role in regional trade…

RCEP covers 30% of the global economy and 30% of the global population, joining for the first time Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea. It aims in coming years to progressively lower tariffs across many areas.

The United States is absent from both RCEP and the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), leaving the world’s biggest economy out of two trade groups that span the world’s fastest-growing region.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce serves as the conservative voice of the most reactionary and out-of-date elements of corporate America. The absurdity of advocating for separatism from trade organizations while acknowledging this diminishes opportunity and ease of doing business with the leading segment of the world’s economy is sillier than the crap still exuded by the Republican Party. The Chamber tries to hide this behind their stuffy traditions.

Asia-Pacific countries form world’s largest trading bloc


VNA

Fifteen countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly a third of the global economy.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand…

Negotiations over the RCEP began in 2012. The deal was signed on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), hosted by Vietnam…

India was also part of the negotiations, but it pulled out last year over concerns that lower tariffs could hurt local producers…Signatories of the deal said the door remained open for India to join in the future…

Members of the RCEP make up nearly a third of the world’s population and account for 29% of global gross domestic product.

I left out the BBC commentary. Predictably, the Brits’ noses are out of joint over this.

The GOUSA wasn’t invited.

Hard to find dumbbells in GOUSA

I know. I know. Just turn on the telly and watch the Republican Convention in action. This ain’t about that. 🙂


Even a $400 set like this from NordicTrack

Dumbbells, like Nintendo Switches, yeast, and bidets, are one of those things that have become extremely popular during the pandemic and extremely hard to find. People are spending more and more time at home, and they’re buying things they never needed or possibly wanted before. The sudden surge in demand has created shortages of the most seemingly disparate things.

For gym-goers, obtaining your own weights and working out from home had always been a possibility. But justifying the purchase was hard, especially with the rise of gyms and boutique fitness studios.

The pandemic swung the pendulum the other way — so much that it’s hard to rationalize going back before a vaccine is created. Depending on where you live, gyms may not be open (which has led to the rise of “speakeasy” gyms), and disconcerting research shows that they are looking more and more like coronavirus hot zones. Working out from home with dumbbells — for one reason or another — seems like the future of fitness. Just as soon as you can get your hands on some.

95% of the world’s dumbbells are manufactured in China. You better believe they’re working overtime to catch up with demand. They are weeks behind. They were months behind. And they’ll catch up; hopefully, before you take up speed crocheting or something equally arcane.

Ray Dalio’s perspective on China

Couple of quick notes:

Recently, I read reviews of Ray Dalio‘s essays on China and investing and that was what I was looking for. That is over here. In the course of my search for an easily accessible link, I came across this video. ‘Nuff said.

It’s long for my usual liking, though, there’s nothing slow or boring about it. Whenever he is on one of the (very few) TV channels I ever watch, I try to catch his appearance. I always learn something useful to managing the comparatively small retirement account I have to backup Social Security.

Returning from Spain, Italy – no screening – Americans only asked if they visited China


Click to enlarge

Trump crosses out “corona” in briefing notes – adds “Chinese”

When Pam Mundus and a friend landed in Milan for a weeklong vacation on Feb. 23, uniformed airport workers in face masks, attempting to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, took their temperatures.

But when Ms. Mundus returned home on a direct flight from Rome to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on March 1, no one questioned her about her time in Italy or whether she might have been exposed to the illness. At that stage, the State Department had already urged Americans to reconsider travel to Italy; there were at least 1,500 cases there and 34 deaths related to the coronavirus by then.

“The only question we were asked was, ‘Have you been to China?’” Ms. Mundus, 62, said in a phone interview from her home on eastern Long Island, where she has been in self-quarantine since her return…

But several experts say the experience of Ms. Mundus shows the limited effectiveness of the administration’s travel restrictions, which followed outbreaks in affected countries by days or weeks. The administration never even imposed restrictions on passengers who had been to South Korea, which also faced a large outbreak.

And the restrictions applied only to foreign citizens, despite the fact that the virus could be transmitted just as easily by the many Americans returning home in droves, who were getting confusing and inconsistent messages on how to protect themselves and their communities — or in many cases, no advice at all…

“The policy makes no sense,” said Danielle Ompad, an epidemiologist at the N.Y.U. School of Public Health. “It was based on nationality, not risk of infectiousness, and the two are not synonymous.”

The Fake President’s policies often make no sense. Some of them, like these creepy incidents, stink of the bigotry and racism that characterizes the leadership of today’s Republican Party.

China donates coronavirus supplies to Italy via China Red Cross


A Chinese team of experts with head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca

A planeload of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, has arrived in Italy from China to help the European country deal with its growing coronavirus crisis…

Italy is now the worst-affected nation in the world after China, since the contagion came to light there on February 21…

The outbreak risks overwhelming Italian hospitals, and some key supplies are running low.

In contrast to China, Italy’s partners in the European Union earlier this month refused Rome’s requests for help with medical supplies as they looked to stockpile face masks and other equipment to help their own citizens.

A team of nine Chinese medical staff arrived late on Thursday with some 30 tonnes of equipment on a flight organised by the Red Cross Society of China.

“In this moment of great stress, of great difficulty, we are relieved to have this arrival of supplies. It is true that it will help only temporarily, but it is still important,” said the head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca.

In a separate development, Chinese businessman Jack Ma, who is the founder of the Alibaba Group and among the world’s richest people, offered to donate 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million masks to the United States, which on Friday declared a national emergency over the outbreak.

…Jack Ma said: “Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.”…”We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”

Over the past weeks, Ma’s organisations have helped provide similar supplies to virus-hit countries such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.

I’m not certain if today’s generations know much of the history, of the role often assumed by charities like the Red Cross, globally and in individual nations in time of disaster. Whether war or natural disasters, the Red Cross societies can typically be counted upon to provide aid and comfort to victims regardless of political context. Flags and elections don’t count as much as lives at risk.

BTW, I didn’t learn of this aid to Italy from the mainstream channels on American television. Which is why I rely on more international news sources, anyway.