#204—15 May 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

Covid-19 Dashboard: over 4.3 million cases, 297k deaths
… last week: over 3.7 million cases, 260k deaths
… previous week: over 3.1 million cases, 227k deaths
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT, Covidtracking.com

East Libya has expelled 1,400 refugees and migrants this year - Link
Sudanese activists are skeptical that legislation will stop the practice of FGM - Link
When dissidents abroad speak out, Egypt jails their families at home - Link
Covid-19 has spread to all provinces in Sudan - Link
… also, desert locusts pose an ongoing threat …

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

Locusts in East Africa: amazing Washington Post piece with photos, video - Link
Somali medics report rapid rise in deaths as Covid-19 fears grow - Link
… “Concerns that official mortality counts in African countries are a big understatement”

West Africa / Nigeria / Sahel (457m)

Senegal to re-open mosques, ease restrictions as virus cases jump - Link
Violence in NW Nigeria drives 23,000 into Niger - Link
“The day the pirates came”: new center of piracy off Nigerian coast - Link
Niger sees attacks by gunmen on several villages on border - Link

South & Middle Africa (275m)

With Lesotho reporting in, every country in Africa has at least one case - Link

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

“Tomorrow is the start of Baghdad’s 4-month long summer” - Link
… temps do not drop below 104 F (40 C ), putting huge stress on water, power demands …
Saudi Arabia will re-impose a 24-hour curfew during the Eid al-Fitr holiday - Link
Doctors and nurses suffered as Iran ignored virus concerns - Link
Yemen declares Aden an “infested city” as virus spreads, clashes erupt - Link
… deaths spike as hospitals shut down - Link
“What’s the point of staying?” Gulf faces expatriate exodus - Link
Israel threatens to pull evangelical Christian TV station aimed at Jews - Link
… “State forbids preaching to under-18s”
Lebanon begins “total” shutdown as cases increase - Link

Central Asia / Caucasus (78m)

“In Uzbekistan: coming to terms with the country’s dazzling history” - Link
… a wonderfully long travelogue & history, with beautiful imagery and great photos ...

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

Markets team as the lockdown eases despite infection surge - Link
… “areas around … Karachi… saw heavy traffic jams… crowds in Lahore, Quetta…”

“For the Taliban, the pandemic is a ladder” - Link
… videos circulating of measures Taliban are taking to provide medical help …

Mumbai: India’s “Maximum City” overwhelmed by coronavirus - Link
… long read, photos.
2 million could die once the lockdown is ended, but the alternative could be worse - Link
Modi announces $260 billion rescue package, “scant on details” - Link
Youtube, 9:56: inside Dharavi’s small Covid hospital - Link
… “the fight against the virus has turned into a struggle to survive” - Link
Packed trains ready to roll again despite rising coronavirus cases - Link
… “tens of thousands… booked seats on trains… due to restart Tuesday …”
For stranded workers, an impossible choice: destitution or a dangerous road home - Link

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

The lengths China is going to for worker safety may not be acceptable elsewhere - LInk
… and, “a confusing patchwork of rules that differ from city to city” …
New/resurging cases:
… in Jilin (near North Korea), new cluster of cases, travel restrictions imposed - Link
… More: China sealing off 22 cities in that region - Link
… in Wuhan, unclear mandate suggesting 11m will be tested - Link
Crackdown on the regulation of education in Hong Kong - Link
… “We won’t let children be ‘poisoned,’ says Carrie Lam” ...
6-part series from SCMP on the impact of Covid-19 related unemployment in China - Link
Travelogue: Xi’an to Turpan: a poetic journey through Western China - Link

Southeast Asia (700m)

New cases in SIngapore - Link
Indonesia deaths top 1,000 as those under 45 urged to resume work - Link
Two Rohingya test positive in refugee camp - Link
Southeast Asia’s roads are buzzing again - Youtube

Europe / North America (1,125m)

Spain will impose a 14-day quarantine on travelers - Link
But some European countries are easing lockdown restrictions - Link
Some Americans may not return to offices in big towers - Link
… Economist: “many will never go back into the office” - Link
… but many poor Americans can’t afford to isolate themselves - Link
… Those earning $70k+ can perform 60% or more of their work at home
… Those earning less than $40k, the figure is usually less than 40%
Churches can reopen soon in some parts of USA, but many won’t - Link
… it will take “far more than” government permission for some …
… Some Texas churches reopening, keeping services to 25% capacity - Link
Many small churches in USA have been decimated by virus - Link
… “40% have seen giving declines”
New Pew survey: “most in US back curbing in-person worship” - Link
… about 20% of White evangelical Prot = “no-restriction services should be allowed
… between 40% and 60% of most other segments do not
Russia surges past 240k to become 2nd most-infected country - Link
… as Coronavirus overruns Russia, doctors are dying on the front lines - Link

New Data

Covid-19 vs the world’s poorest - Link
… those <$1.90/day likely to rise from 640m to 690m

Great event risk assessment planning tool to bookmark - Link
… generates graphs I’ve used for % chance someone at event is infected …

The Risks - Know them - Avoid them - Link
… excellent analysis of risk pools, applicable in USA and elsewhere …
… open-air and big-box stores less risky. Small restaurants, enclosed office spaces = more risk

Which parent’s religion has a bigger impact on your religion as an adult? Link
… interesting USA stats from Ryan Burge. Maybe applicable elsewhere …

Lacking data, many African governments make policy in the dark - Link
… insufficient testing, blind leading the blind ...

The pandemic is laying bare a global water crisis - Link
… with examples from Ethiopia …

Global child mortality could rise for first time in 60 years - Link
… people afraid of the virus don’t seek out medical checkups, etc. for pregnancies, children …

New Learnings

1. Mild cases are not… mild. One big thing that a lot of people seem to misunderstand: a common idea is that “90% of Covid-19 cases are mild”. But in all the personal stories I read, ‘mild’ is a terrible understatement. ‘Mild’ just means you didn’t need to be hospitalized. Here’s the story of the scientist who fought Ebola and HIV, and his personal experience with Covid-19: he’s still recovering.

2. We generally do not have a very good view of the virus. There’s at least 1.4-ish million cases in the United States, and at least 4-ish million cases in the world. But that’s a floor, not a ceiling. There are so many places that have insufficient or even very little testing, and it’s certain that the total number of cases in those places far exceeds what we know. However, some new bits of research…

3. Small percentages of populations infected. Some of the first studies on seroprevalence - what percentage of a population are actually infected - came out. France and Spain both reported the results of studies that indicate ~5% of their populations were infected. This leads to about a 1% infection fatality rate. Many people had hoped there were lots of unnoticed asymptomatic cases. This evidence does not appear to support that hope. Link

4. We need a vaccine. But even discovering a vaccine isn’t enough. Here’s a far more horrifying scenario: that the disease becomes endemic, and the entire world needs the vaccine. Production won’t meet demand for years. The vaccine will be bid up in price. Doses will be hoarded. People in the unreached world will suffer the most. Link

5. The virus could remain in some parts of the world for years. WHO estimates 190,000 could be killed in Africa in the next year, “and then it would smolder for years.” These virus basins will be distrusted by other parts of the world. I would expect it to become much more difficult to travel into and out of these regions, and complications for health insurance providers as well.

#. Upended family planning will lead to surge in births. Regardless of what you think of family planning (contraceptives to abortion), this article contains some data and a notable trend--that the virus has disrupted women’s access to contraception, leading to a surge of births among many of the poorest of the poor. Link

6. Tourism, travel, airlines—none of it will likely be back to normal any time soon. Tourism, migration, business, education, and even infrastructure--all of it will be impacted. The CEO of Boeing said it was likely traffic wouldn’t be back to 25% by September, and he expected at least one major airline would go bankrupt. Travel and migration will be politicized. The effects on migration and migrants could last for years. Limitations on demand will mean transportation will cut routes, and that in turn will make travel to the field more difficult. Here’s a story of what travel looks like right now (with masks, reduced passengers on planes, and mandatory testing before leaving airports) - Link. And another one.

7. Faith can grow even when we can’t gather for corporate worship. A new Pew study shows many in America have discovered their faith can strengthen in this time. Link

Additional readings

5 ways leaders accidentally stress out their employees - Link
The glory—and risk—of cities: “places of interaction between people and economies” - Link

New Technology

The minefield of digital contact tracing - Link
World getting split into (at least) 2 kinds of contact-tracing apps - Link
India’s contact-tracing app tops 100 million users in 41 days - Link

China’s unmanned Mars probe mission appears on track for July launch - Link

The coronavirus is decimating the sharing economy - Link

France AI is measuring the number of passengers in the Paris metro wearing masks - Link
… (generates statistics, doesn’t store passenger information)

Face mask vending machines in Singapore - Link

Cybercrime on rise during Covid-19 lockdowns - Link

The Last Five

#203 - May 8
#202 - May 1
#201 - April 24
#200 - April 17
#199 - April 10