Roundup 201

April 24, 2020

New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard: >2.6M known cases, >186k known deaths - Johns Hopkins, NYT Tracker … up from >2M known cases, >143k deaths last Friday … up from 1.5M known cases, >89k deaths the Friday-before … Crude fatality rate (known deaths / known cases) is 7.1%.


African nations struggle to acquire supplies amid pandemic - Link … less than 2,000 ventilators, and other supplies also run low

At least 300,000 Africans expected to die in pandemic - Link … basically, absent any interventions, practically everyone on the continent will be infected … “best case scenario” = 122m infections, 2.3m hospitalizations, 0.3m deaths

North Africa / Egypt / Sudan (266m)

Coronavirus dampens Ramadan celebrations in Egypt - Link … “When I call people, nobody can come. It feels like God is refusing us.”

Few ventilators, little cash: Sudan braces for coronavirus test - Link … millions living in displacement camps, makeshift housing, particularly vulnerable

Concerns of a coup stir in Sudan as capital begins 3-week lockdown - Link … civilians, military jostling for power

Algeria eases virus lockdown for Ramadan - Link

East Africa / Horn / Ethiopia / Somalia (520m)

Fears coronavirus cases will grow in Somalia as Ramadan gatherings continue - Link … continue to congregate in mosques, gather at teashops, restaurants

The fear of being sentenced to a Kenyan quarantine center - Link … borders shut, flights restricted, curfews, travel restricted, public venues shut, face masks, more

Ethiopia: Internet access in Oromia restored in April - Link … had been shut off since January

West Africa / Nigeria / Sahel (457m)

Nigeria’s northern governors to close Islamic schools due to virus risk - Link … “which house millions of men and boys” … children evacuated to their parents or states of origin

South & Middle Africa (275m)

Mozambique: 52 young men allegedly killed by Islamic insurgents - Link … after they refused to be recruited

DR Congo’s health system is on “life support” as it struggles with Covid-19 - Link … nearly half of health facilities lack clean water, sanitation

West Asia / Gulf / Saudi / Turkey / Iran / Iraq (303m)

Iran extends closure of religious sites in midst of pandemic - Link … until May 4, but much of the rest of economy has been allowed to re-open

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard capitalizing on pandemic to strengthen grip on the country - Link … the Guard has taken a massive hit to its finances with the decline in oil prices

Death rate in Turkey suggests hidden spread of virus - Link … official count is 90,000 cases. Exceeds China, poised to enter ‘100k case’ group. Link

Erdogan claims life in Turkey could return to normal by late May - Link … “strong health infrastructure” but also “biggest crisis since WW2”

First confirmed virus case in refugee camp in Lebanon - Link … 10s of 1000s of Palestinian refugees in camps

Domestic violence in Lebanon spikes under lockdown  - Link

Saudi top religious authority recommends home prayers in Ramadan amid virus - Link

Saudis extend truce in Yemen by a month - Link … efforts to control the coronavirus are leading to the extended cease-fire

“Nobody can help Iraq any more” - Link … “It is a terrible situation, but …”

Central Asia / Caucasus (78m)

Tajikistan: nothing to see here. That’s not Covid-19, it’s swine flu. Or pneumonia. Link … “We’re not hiding anything.” Honest. Link

Tajik migrants are stuck in Russia - Link … they went there to work, but the virus has taken their jobs. T. making no effort to bring them back.

Kazakhstan: Coronavirus is testing the uncertain private market. Link

South Asia / Pakistan / India / Bangladesh (2,040m)

India, Pakistan seek to lift some curbs to help millions hit by coronavirus lockdowns - Link … “limited resumption of commerce and industry in the hinterland”

Pakistan: Islamabad mosques defy lockdown - Link … government gives into demand that mosques be allowed to stay open during Ramadan - Link … but Sindh province bans prayer at mosques during virus - Link

Afghanistan’s next war – longread on virus with photos - Link

India: Powered by fear, locals enforce official coronavirus lockdown - Link … volunteers set up roadblocks, neighborhoods set their own limits, risk of division & xenophobia

Maharashtra allows some economic activity - Link … Mumbai has most confirmed cases in India. But state will allow some activity in less-affected areas

Social distancing an ‘oxymoron’ in India - Link … day laborers, overcrowding, spontaneous parades to celebrate health workers

Desperate migrant workers trapped in lockdown - Link

Life under lockdown in India’s massive Dharavi slum - Link … “100s of people sometimes share the same bathroom. Clean water not guaranteed. Soap a luxury.”

Covid-19 amplifies prejudices against India’s Muslims - Link

Bangladesh: as many as 100,000 flock to funeral, raising fears of infection spread - Link

Maldives locks down its capital - Link

East Asia / China / Taiwan / Korea / Japan (1,677m)


Harbin curbs travel to prevent resurgence of infections - Link … banned non-locals and non-locally registered vehicles from entering residential zones

Wuhan has a growing number of recovered cases that still test positive for the virus - Link … could be testing issues, or–? They are symptom free, but potentially still infectious

The hidden crackdown on Tibet - Link

6 Christians briefly detained in China for distributing jailed pastor’s sermon for Easter - Link

#Taiwan / Mongolia / Macau / Hong Kong

Pandemic is cover for a crackdown in Hong Kong - Link


Japan’s coronavirus cases rise to 10,000 - Link

Yakuza gangs vie for power in the midst of the pandemic - Link … older gangs restoring reputations through public works … newer gangs vie for profits by selling medical supplies


N Korean lecturers say there are confirmed virus cases in the country - Link … defector to China tested positive for the virus - Link

NK News reports ‘panic buying’ of food in Pyongyang - Link … seems most likely related to anti-virus measures

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has disappeared after a medical procedure, and speculation is rampant. While most analysts are adopting a cautious “wait and see” perspective, he has not yet re-appeared to defy expectations. … N Korea media “unusually silent” amid growing speculation on health - Link … Sister seen as de facto #2 - Link … “Kim Jong Un has put North Korea in a position to outlast his reign” - Link

South Koreans return to work, malls, golf courses - Link … social distancing extended, masks worn, but “some relief” offered

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia bans ‘mudik’ to reign in Coronavirus - Link … traditional Ramadan-fueled exodus from cities to home villages.

Singapore sees huge surge in coronavirus cases - Link … 80% of all cases linked to migrant worker dormitories – Video … Pastor helps keep migrant workers fed during lockdown - Link

Vietnam to ease nationwide lockdown - Link … mass quarantines, contact tracing contained relatively small outbreak clusters

Europe / North America (1,125m)

NYC serving 500,000 free halal meals to Muslims during Ramadan - Link … to as many as 2 million residents unable to pay for food – the food insecure

Muslim call to prayer will be heard in Minneapolis, Mn. neighborhood - Link … many Somalis in this neighborhood. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when they can’t gather at mosque, special permission has been given to sound the call to prayer during Ramadan to provide a sense of togetherness.

Russia coronavirus cases seeing dramatic rise - Link … “all the hospitals are full” - Link

Longform Pew report: Americans’ views of China turn increasingly negative - Link … 9 in 10 Americans view China as a threat … mainly a view of China as a whole, particularly its government? … I could envision a scenario where this could actually help mission work

Churches in the USA should not be the first to reopen - Link

Church donations have plunged, and some won’t survive - Link

Immigrants are leaving the United States - Link … the immigrant population is at a 19-year low

Coronavirus trickling into Haiti - Link

New Data & Resources

30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World begins with Ramadan on April 24th. - Link … get the latest downloadable prayer guide

“Instead of coronavirus, the hunger crisis could kill us.” A global food crisis looms - Link … number facing acute hunger could double to 265 million by the end of the year … Five of the countries most at risk of famine - Link … The hunger crisis in Afghanistan - Link

Economist presents analysis on excess deaths - Link … this is an interesting analysis that shows total confirmed deaths and how the exceed what is normal for any given country or city, shows the real impact of Covid-19

New Longreads

Oil collapse, Covid-19 create toxic geopolitical stew - Link … ‘monstrous calamity for countries heavily reliant on oil production’ … Iraq, 90% of government revenues from oil, payroll of 4 million workers, support for poor … Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador economies could shrink dramatically … Nigeria, Angola both: 90% of export earnings from oil, 2/3 of government revenue … Saudi Arabia, Russia both feeling the pinch

WTO reports 80 countries are limiting the export of face masks and other goods - Link … we are not all in this together

In the shadow of coronavirus, Muslims face a Ramadan like never before - Link

Around the world, the devout are adapting their rituals to fit life under the virus - Link … a broad survey of religious changes under various religions

Globalization was in decline before coronavirus - Link … the pandemic will accelerate it, but probably lead to regionalism

Would-be autocrats are using the virus to grab more power - Link … “strong measures are needed to keep the public safe”

Is tourism at risk from the coronavirus? Link

Islam’s holiest sites empty as Ramadan begins - Link

New Technology

Ben Evans: Covid-19 and forced experiments - Link … useful analysis on the creative disruption and potential new startups in this environment

Apple + Google improve user privacy, developer flexibility on “exposure notification system” - Link … operating system bits should be out next week

Migrants use digital ‘fab labs’ to address Djibouti health protection shortages - Link … using 3D printers to make face shields, training youth with new skills

To handle new work from home trend, US FCC opens up 6Ghz spectrum - Link … lots of additional WiFi bandwidth, faster than before, but will take a while to get to market

Snapchat’s pandemic-lockdown-fueled resurgence - Link

Many conferences are going on line to try and survive economically - Link … but Ben Evans notes conferences also are valuable for serendipitous, chance meetings. … how to bring value to conference goers? A group of “TED Talks” only part of the value.

Iran launches its first spy satellite - Link. Or maybe not.

Despite security issues, Zoom grew from 10m (2019) to 300m today - Link … has added more than 100m users in the last three weeks

‘Pandemic drones’ can detect fevers and social distancing - Link

Zoom rolls out security updates - Link … but do we trust them? (For most people, it’ll be fine.) … I’ve largely switched to using Webex. Some people I know are using Wire.

China still hacking Uighur phones, even in midst of pandemic - Link