#198—3 April 2020
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In a time when Covid-19 is sweeping the globe and many are out of work, we are mindful of the possibility of a downturn in charitable giving. Our work in missionary research is supported by a small number of donors as well as our agency, Beyond. One product of our work is this weekly newsletter; another less-visible result are the databases and lists that help many in the 24:14 network know where workers need to be sent. We are at the end of one quarter and the beginning of the next; if each reader would consider a contribution (for example, $25, $100 or $250) it would be a huge help to shore up our support for the next three months. Thanks for your consideration!

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New Events

I am now keeping a separate, regularly updated index of Coronavirus news, especially focused on the unreached portions of the world - Link.  

Covid-19 Dashboard: >1M known cases, >50k deaths - Johns Hopkins, NYT Tracker

Africa faces an existential threat from the virus - Link
Africa meets pandemic with violence, confusion - Link
... making it worse, in many instances ...

North Africa / Warring States

Boko Haram strikes Chad, kills 100+ soldiers - Link

Escalation of fighting in Libya - Link

Nigeria

Lagos enters 2-week lockdown to fight coronavirus - Link

25 million under lockdown: “How will my children survive?” - Link
... “poor people in congested neighborhoods are worried about how they will cope”

West Africa

Crisis in the Sahel becomes France’s forever war - Link
... lots of these things are getting forgotten in the swamp of virus news, but continue anyway ...

Sahel food crisis is spiraling out of control - Link
... more than 5 million people face severe food insecurity ...

Militant attacks force Malian refugees from camp - Link

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Burundi may be stifling news, hiding cases of coronavirus - Link

Southern / Middle Africa

Coronavirus poses threat to battered health system in DR Congo - Link

With most [known] cases in Africa, South Africa locks down - Link

Central Asia / Caucasus

 

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Saudi Arabia imposes 24-hour curfew on Mecca, Medina - Link
... year-round umrah pilgrimage suspended, hajj may be postponed ...

The Saudis & Russia are in a fight over oil prices - Link
... expect oil prices to go lower yet, and lots of people to be affected: some good, some bad

Saudi Arabia extends all flight suspensions, workplace attendance - Link

West Asia / Turkey / Jordan

Turkey/Syria: weaponizing water in global pandemic - Link
... Covid-19 protections require adequate supply of water ...

Iran/Iraq

Oil price crash, virus hits, commerce stops: Iraq is in trouble - NYT

In Iran, 17 regime figures have died - Link  

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Pakistani clerics refuse to shut down mosques - Link  

Afghanistan’s peace process in danger of unraveling - Link
... due to virus + Ghani-Abdullah dispute ...

India

Virus lockdown changes how Hindus celebrate holy period - Link
... “as a devout Hindu, she fears for her soul”

Returning migrant workers throw Bihar into social crisis - Link
... “This has led to a humanitarian crisis in which state governments, dealing with the challenge to contain the virus, have struggled to provide food and shelter to them.”

“Some of us will die” - Link
... India’s homeless stranded by coronavirus lockdown ...

India’s pandemic lockdown turns into a human tragedy - Link

“Millions threatened with hardship” - Link

India's coronavirus lockdown leaves vast numbers stranded and hungry - NYT

PM "asks forgiveness" over lockdown - BBC
... "but it's the only way to fight the virus," he claims
... mentions a possible economic relief package
... rhetoric is not much help to Indians

In Delhi, first came the pogroms, then came coronavirus - Link

Bangladesh

More than a million garment workers are out of work in Bangladesh - Link
... due to coronavirus, orders being cancelled, etc ...

China

China’s travel restrictions: an explainer - Link
... good run-down in general as well as province-by-province table ...

Non-mask wearing and open sneezing soon to be officially frowned upon by law - Link
... expanding the “list of ‘uncivilized behaviors’”

Foreigners face suspicion in China as coronavirus worsens overseas - Link

US intelligence report allegedly says China hid extent of coronavirus outbreak - Link
... Lots of politicking, but it’s clear that in nearly any given country, ‘total cases’ is really just ‘total confirmed cases’ or ‘total known cases’ and various countries for various reasons either hide the number, don’t test, or don’t acknowledge.

Xinjiang returns to work, but coronavirus worries linger - Link

Yunnan province bars people from leaving to prevent virus re-entering via returnees - Link
... banned exits through its land, river ports ...

Koreas

How South Korea prevents transmission without going to total lockdown - Link
... testing, case follow-up, and a lot of surveillance work ...
... “But the government clearly worries that it will not be enough.”

North Korea claims no coronavirus infections - can it be trusted? Link
... obviously not. Other articles relate how they’ve secretly asked for help - Link

Southeast Asia

Indonesia deaths > South Korea deaths, Singapore to close most workplaces - Link

Myanmar braces for coronavirus after its first confirmed case - Link

Europe / North America

“Hungary is now a dictatorship” - Link
... lots of power structures shift, and some centralization of power / power grabs ...
... question is what returns to “normal”, and “when”, and what is the “new normal”

Religious freedom in the time of coronavirus - Link
... some politicians drew a firestorm of criticism for threatening to permanently close churches
... States consider whether religious services are ‘essential’ - Link

America didn’t stay home even as the virus spread - Link
... America’s problems: part leadership issues, part execution issues, part a culture of liberty ...

More than half of Americans have prayed for the end of coronavirus - Link

Health care ‘kamikazes’ - Link
... Spain’s health care workers battling the virus, unprotected ...

USA: higher attendance, lower giving, no one knows what to do about Easter - Link
... New Barna survey ...  

New Data

Lots of great charts related to the coronavirus in the USA - Link
... great data, but also great examples of how to use charts to show meaningful data ...  

The status of global border closures - Link

Travel restrictions in Africa - Link
... 31 countries have full border closures. Nearly every African country has some restrictions ...
... this 2nd graph looks a little different than the first one. I haven’t investigated specifics yet.  

Infected but feeling fine: the unwitting coronavirus spreaders - Link
... as much as 25% of people infected with the virus may show no symptoms, yet still be contagious ...  

Economist special report on Africa:
... Africa’s population will double by 2050 - Link
... Parts of Africa will remain unstable for decades - Link
... Africa is changing so rapidly, it is becoming hard to ignore - Link  

#ModelingThePandemic

Why it’s so hard to build a good model of the pandemic - Link
... this is a fantastic, easily-accessible explanation of the science and challenges

Covid19.healthdata.org/projections - this is the model US government seems to look at - Link

The Imperial model - this is the one that got everyone’s attention a few weeks back - Link
... lots of chatter suggesting they “walked it back” but they did not ...
... they just said “what the UK is doing NOW as a result of our guidance will reduce deaths” ...

A roadmap for reopening the United States - Link  

#TheGreatMaskDebate - should we wear masks, or not?

A scientific rationale for wearing masks - this is my go-to article, why I say “Yes” - Link

More Americans should probably wear masks for protection - Link
... looks at some of the nuances, echoes thoughts in “A scientific rationale”

Why telling people they don’t need masks backfired - Link
... an incisive look at how miscommunication of nuance has caused problems

The science hasn’t changed but the guidance might - Link
... note that a mask doesn’t protect eyes and can give a false sense of security
... this is why more communication of the nuances is needed

Fabric masks are a crisis response when all other supplies are exhausted - Link

CDC likely to advise all Americans to wear masks when in public, but not mandatory - Link

New Longreads

That discomfort your feeling is grief - Link
... good piece on grief processing ...

You’re not powerless in the face of uncertainty - Link
... “Obstacles are what make the hero” ...

Stratfor: thinking beyond Covid-19: 5 long-term trends - Link

The unseen pandemic - Link
... refugee camps like those in Bangladesh are a tinderbox for the spread

“I can’t stop”: in vast informal economy, pandemic adds pressure - Link
... when the informal economy (trade, barter, markets, cash sales, etc) are a big part of the economy, people can’t just shut down ... affects L America as well as Asia

For India’s laborers, coronavirus lockdown is an order to starve - Link
... “laborers who live hand-to-mouth say they have no choice but to keep hitting the streets.”

“Just one case” - fears coronavirus will spread through refugee camps - Link
... already seen at least one death in Dharavi, in India ...

As is often the case in crises like these, there are some inspiring moments of interfaith cooperation. Link

New Technology

How coronavirus tests actually work - Link  

AP Investigator’s favorite tech tools - Link
... I thought the disposable phone number app was interesting ...

The medical news website that saw coronavirus early on - Link

For shut-in pilgrims, the world’s holiest sites are just a click away - Link
... ‘a digital window into ceremonies’

#Surveillance

Surge of smartphone apps promise virus tracking, but raise privacy concerns - Link

Armenia seeks to stem coronavirus by tracking phones - Link

Russia unveils phone tracking app - Link

How the cameras reached China’s front doors - quietly rolling out massive network - Link

Palantir is helping the CDC track coronavirus - Link
... an expert in surveillance

AI powered smart glasses finding people with coronavirus in China - Link  

With more eyes on Zoom during the pandemic, more questions about security rising:

Maybe we shouldn’t use Zoom after all? Techcrunch

Zoom under increased legal scrutiny as popularity soars - BBC

Questions about using Zoom for classified conversations (security issues) - BBC

Zoom sends encryption keys, other data to China (sometimes) - Forbes

Zoom meetings aren’t end-to-end encrypted, despite misleading marketing - Intercept

Zoom sends data to FB even if users don’t have FB accounts - Vice

‘War Dialing’ tool exposes Zoom’s password problems - Link
... new automated tool discovers which zoom rooms don’t have passwords

10 alternatives to Zoom - Link

Zoombombing comes for houses of worship - Link

Zoom vows to win back trust with extensive security review - Link

Zoom CEO takes to a blog post to reiterate/clarify privacy policies - Link

The Last Five

#197 - March 27
#196 - March 20
#195 - March 13
#194 - March 6
#193 - February 28
#192 - February 21