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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 03rd of June 2021

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The parabola was described thus by Thomas Pynchon

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It's The Parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe- that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’

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“No matter how the official narrative of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi

Thomas Pynchon in Bleeding Edge “No matter how the official narrative of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi, "these are the places we should be looking, not in newspapers or television but at the margins, graffiti, uncontrolled utterances, bad dreamers who sleep in public and scream in their sleep.”

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Number of global cases and deaths continued to decrease for a fifth and fourth consecutive week respectively @WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 1 June 2021


The number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to decrease, with over 3.5 million new cases and 78 000 new deaths reported globally in the past week; a 15% and 7% decrease respectively, compared to the previous week

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

India (1 364 668 new cases; 26% decrease)

Brazil (420 981 new cases; 7% decrease)

Argentina (219 910 new cases; 3% increase)

United States of America (153 587 new cases; 18% decrease)

Colombia (150 517 new cases; 40% increase).


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Nations w/ high avg COVID-19 growth rate (daily/total) @jmlukens

Taiwan: 8.19%

Thailand: 2.75%

Trinidad & Tobago: 2.39%

Cambodia: 2.25%

Maldives: 1.67%

Sri Lanka: 1.56%

Malaysia: 1.42%

Uruguay: 1.36%

Bahrain: 1.23%

Mongolia: 1.21%

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Declining epidemics for B.1.1.7 compensate for a while with increasing epidemics of B.1.617.2, causing cases to appear flat for a while, but not for long...@TWenseleers

Here same graphs shown using 7-day rolling averages instead of raw new cases per day to average out weekday effects a bit. Declining epidemics for B.1.1.7 compensate for a while with increasing epidemics of B.1.617.2, causing cases to appear flat for a while, but not for long...

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Well, surprise, surprise: in the meantime they do go up. Here new cases shown by variant. Overall R value in the UK now at 1.3. @TWenseleers

Last week people were still wondering why total new cases were not going up yet in the UK if B.1.617.2 made up such a large share of all new infections. Well, surprise, surprise: in the meantime they do go up. Here new cases shown by variant. Overall R value in the UK now at 1.3.

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Also, I love our vax pgm - but govt is relying on it too much. @chrischirp

We should be asking why Chile is seeing another surge and locking down with ICUs full when more of their population is fully vaccinated than ours. 

Why is Uruguay having a terrible surge with similar vax rates?

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16-FEB-2020 :: They now turn to rule over the people by means of what could be dubbed “big data totalitarianism” and “WeChat terror.” @ChinaFile #COVID19 Xu Zhangrun

If you look closely here you'll see references to #China's tech companies Huawei, Wechat (微信), Alibaba etc. Also 和谐 hexie over the eyes means "harmony" (fro former Pres Hu catchphrase). 

In China if you've been censored you've been "harmonised

you will all be no better than fields of garlic chives, giving yourselves up to being harvested by the blade of power, time and time again. @ChinaFile #COVID19 

[ “garlic chives,” Allium tuberosum, often used as a metaphor to describe an endlessly renewable resource.]

What is thriving, however, is all that ridiculous ―Red Culture and the nauseating adulation that the system heaps on itself via shameless pro-Party hacks who chirrup hosannahs at every turn @ChinaFile #COVID19


There is no difference between China and Facebook. 

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01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

What is clear is that the #COVID19 was bio-engineered The Science [and I am not a Scientist is irrefutable and in the public domain  for those with a modicum of intellectual interest. 

This information is being deliberately suppressed.

This took me to Thomas Pynchon

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

 Now Why are we being led away from this irrefutable Truth

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13-JUL-2020 :: Year of the Virus

I am convinced that the only ‘’zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.

There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released – 

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04-JAN-2021 :: What Will Happen In 2021

Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19. 

It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later. 

Those who have chosen to propagate this narrative are above the radar and in plain sight and need to be called to account. 

The Utter Failure to call these 5th columnists to Account is the clearest Signal that there is no external threat because it is already on the inside.

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Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19
Law & Politics

Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment  and  

Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2191

Dollar Index 90.046

Japan Yen 109.78

Swiss Franc 0.8989

Pound 1.4151

Aussie 0.7729

India Rupee 73.0815

South Korea Won 1113.55

Brazil Real 5.0764

Egypt Pound 15.68

South Africa Rand 13.5434

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I have been reading Yuval Noah Harari and in his best-seller he says this about money;
World Of Finance

“Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

“Cowry shells and dollars have value only in our common imagination. Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the shells and paper, or their colour, or their shape. In other words, money isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct. It works by converting matter into mind.”

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From Nigeria to Brazil ‘halo’ crops reap pandemic profits @Reuters
Minerals, Oil & Energy

In a flowing cream hijab, Karima M. Imam walks through her fields in scrubland in northern Nigeria as workers harvest a gnarled brown root that has turned gold since COVID struck: ginger.

"If I had the capital, I'd plant more. People are looking for ginger now, and there is not enough," she said at her five hectare farm on the outskirts of Kaduna.

As the pandemic rages, people around the world have sought to guard against illness by turning to so-called halo foods. 

While scientists have dismissed many claims on social media about how superfoods can fend off the virus, their positive role as part of a healthy diet is widely acknowledged.

As demand for halo foods surges, prices for ginger in Nigeria and acai berries in Brazil have leapt while exports of Indian turmeric and Chinese garlic have jumped in the past year.

"The demand for ginger is high because they are using it as medicine," Imam said, adding that during the lockdown she boiled ginger with turmeric and garlic to take as a remedy.

Increasingly health conscious consumers have given an already buoyant global spice market a further boost during the pandemic, heightening investor interest in the sector.

Singapore's Olam International (OLAM.SI) completed the purchase of major U.S. spice manufacturer Olde Thompson last month while Norway's Orkla (ORK.OL) took a controlling stake in Indian spice exporter Eastern Condiments in March.

In Nigeria, a 50 kg bag of ginger, which can help the body ward off germs and is used as a cold remedy, now sells for 15,000 naira ($39), up from 4,000 to 6,000 naira two years ago.

Thanks to the ginger rush, Imam has been able to start building a new house in nearby Millennium City, with a small warehouse attached so she can store and sell fresh ginger, which goes for more than when it has been cut and dried.

Prices began rising last year but since January they have taken off due to pandemic-related demand, said Florence Edwards, national president of the Ginger Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.

She said there had been demand from all over the world, citing India, China and Europe among popular markets.

There has also been a surge in demand for acai, a fruit rich in antioxidants hyped as a superfood. The Amazonian state of Para in Brazil is the world's largest producing region.

Paulo Lobato, a 52-year-old producer and trader of acai in Para, has had to hold back part of his crop for long-standing clients, with supplies unable to keep pace with soaring demand.

Prices were 53% higher in April compared with the same period last year at 4.14 reais (78 cents) per kg, according to the state's export federation CIN/Fiepa.

"I've been working with acai for the past 32 years and I've never seen anything like this," Lobato said. "During the pandemic people just went nuts."

Para is responsible for more than 90% of Brazil's production of acai, which thrives in its wet soil and constant heat.

The purple round fruit is mostly produced by families, with cooperatives organising harvests. Lobato has 20 families working in his farms with whom he shares half of the proceeds.

Acai is part of the Amazonian culinary tradition, eaten as a side dish with fried fish and typically as part of lunch and dinner. 

As export demand has risen, however, the fruit has become harder to find at local markets.

"The local consumers are the first to be hit," said Florence Serra, from Brazil's food supply and statistics agency Conab. "Some people would go to the street fair and find none."

Like ginger, garlic has components that can help the body fend off bugs and it too is in demand. China exported 2.18 million tonnes of garlic bulbs in 2020, up 30% from the year before, customs data shows, with major customers including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Demand for the spice turmeric, which can help in the treatment of conditions involving pain and inflammation, has also received a pandemic boost.

Indian exports of turmeric jumped 36% in 2020 to a record 181,664 tonnes and shipments have carried on rising in 2021, climbing 10% in the first two months of the year to 24,813 tonnes, according to data compiled by India's trade ministry.

"The concept of immunity boosters is very much influential these days not only in India but across the globe and turmeric is a natural immunity booster," said Abhijeet Banerjee, a spices analyst at Indian financial services company Religare (RELG.NS).

"The government and Ayurveda practitioners recommend consuming some amount of turmeric daily for better post-COVID management," he said, referring to traditional Indian medicine.

Turmeric futures have risen more than 30% so far in 2021 and hit a five-year peak of 9,522 Indian rupees ($130) per 100 kg in March.

Farmers such as Ravindra Dere, who cultivates turmeric on two acres in the western state of Maharashtra, are happy.

"After many years, we are making decent profit. I hope prices will remain firm," he said.

Back in Kaduna in Nigeria, Hebile Abu sees no end to the ginger rush. He's the commercial manager for a company that facilities loans, fertilisers and tractors for a cooperative of about 1,500 small farms - and then markets their crops.

"However many tonnes you have, they will buy it," he said. "People come for it and they cannot get it."

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In 1998, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told the House of Commons: “There is no way in which one can buck the market.”
World Of Finance

Erdogan remains a limit short trading position.

He said, “Don’t get high on your ambitions. You won’t be able make money on the back of this nation. You won’t be able to make this nation kneel.” 

And then ‘’Even if they got dollars, we got ‘our people, our God’’’ [In the markets that is called a ‘’Hail Mary’’ pass]

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Lebanon Crisis Among World’s Worst Since 1850’s, @WorldBank Says @economics
Emerging Markets

Lebanon’s severe economic and financial crisis is likely to rank as one of the worst the world has seen in more than 150 years, the World Bank said in a report released Tuesday.

The World Bank said that since late 2019, Lebanon has been facing compounded challenges, including its largest peace-time economic and financial crisis, the spread of coronavirus and a massive blast at Beirut’s port last year that is considered as one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history.

“The economic and financial crisis is likely to rank in the top 10, possibly top 3, most severe crises episodes globally since the mid-nineteenth century,” it added.

The report said the country’s gross domestic product is projected to contract 9.5% in 2021, after shrinking by 20.3% in 2020 and 6.7% the year before. 

Lebanon’s gross domestic product plummeted from close to $55 billion in 2018 to an estimated $33 billion in 2020, while GDP per capita fell by around 40% in dollar terms, the report said.

“Such a brutal contraction is usually associated with conflicts or wars,” the World Bank said.

The report was released two days before the World Bank’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj, and Merza Hussain Hasan, its executive director, were set to arrive in Lebanon to meet with Lebanese officials and urge them to address the crisis “with urgency,” a World Bank spokeswoman said.

For decades, Lebanon has been dominated by the same political elites, many of them former warlords and militia commanders from the civil war. 

Corruption has been widespread over the past decades, brining the tiny country to near bankruptcy.

In March 2020, Lebanon defaulted on paying back its debt for the first time in its history as the local currency lost more than 85% of its value. 

Tens of thousands have lost their jobs while many others left the country seeking opportunities abroad. Nearly half the country’s 5 million people live in poverty.

“Lebanon faces a dangerous depletion of resources, including human capital, and high skilled labor is increasingly likely to take up potential opportunities abroad, constituting a permanent social and economic loss for the country,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, the World Bank regional director.

“Only a reform-minded government, which embarks upon a credible path toward economic and financial recovery” can reverse further sinking of Lebanon, he said.

In recent weeks, with foreign currency reserves dwindling at the central bank, Lebanon has been witnessing severe shortage in medicines as well as fuel, with people having to wait in line at gas stations to fill their cars. Electricity cuts last more than 12 hours a day.

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21 OCT 19 :: The New Economy of Anger
World Of Finance

Paul Virilio pronounced in his book Speed and Politics, 

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street, where for a moment it stops being a cog in the technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of attack), in other words, a producer of speed.’’

The Phenomenon is spreading like wildfire in large part because of the tinder dry conditions underfoot. 

Prolonged stand-offs eviscerate economies, reducing opportunities and accelerate the negative feed- back loop.

Antonio Gramsci wrote, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. now is the time of monsters.”

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Africa's political dynasties: How presidents groom their sons for power @BBC

Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou-Nguesso has appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister - a move that has revived media speculation that he has a dynastic succession in mind.

Not that such a transition looks imminent. Elected to a further term in March, after ruling the country for all but five of the past 41 years, there's no sign of the 77-year old head of state losing his appetite for wielding power himself.

Yet if Denis-Christel does eventually step into his father's shoes, this will confirm Congo-Brazzaville's alignment with an increasingly prevalent pattern in Central Africa.

In neighbouring Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba is the son of Omar Bongo, who ruled from 1967 to 2009, while in the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila ruled for 17 years after succeeding his assassinated father Laurent-Désiré as head of state in 2001.

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang - in power since deposing his tyrannical uncle Francisco Macías Nguema, the country's first head of state, back in 1979 - has already installed his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as vice-president, in pole position to succeed him.

And after Chad's President Idriss Déby died last month - reportedly from wounds incurred in battle with rebels - his son Mahamat, a four-star army general, rapidly emerged as the leader of the interim ruling military council.

And now there are even rumblings about a possible family succession in Cameroon, where an anonymous "citizens' movement" campaign has begun to promote the image of Franck Biya, son of the 88-year-old President Paul Biya, who is not yet midway through his latest seven-year term.

Sources close to Franck - who has always stayed out of politics, pursuing a private sector business career and even taking care not to become involved with bids for public sector contracts - indicate that he has nothing to do with the campaign. 

But nor has he asked the campaigners to desist, or issued a categorical denial of any ambition to succeed his father.

Of course, political dynasties are far from rare - look at the Bushes and Kennedys in the US.

And currently Uganda is seeing a social media campaign touting General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, son of current head of state Yoweri Museveni, as a potential governing party candidate for the next election in 2026.

But the phenomenon is particularly entrenched in west-central Africa's petro-economies, where oil revenues often lubricate the networks of political patronage and empire-building.

It can also fuel rivalries and resentments within ruling dynasties and their often complex webs of personal connection.

There are rumours of palace intrigue among the Obiangs, with some family members said to favour an alternative presidential son, Oil Minister Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima.

Gabon: First family intrigues

But it is not just about personal issues. 

The 2016 Gabonese election saw Ali Bongo face off against former foreign minister and African Union Commission chief Jean Ping.

He happens to be the former partner of the president's sister Pascaline, making Ali the uncle to their two children.

However, Ping ran on a fundamentally political agenda, presenting himself as the statesman face of opposition who could oversee reform and true democratisation.

And five years later, he has still not acknowledged defeat in what became a bitter contest, amid serious questions about the credibility of the final polling returns that narrowly decided the outcome in the president's favour.

But Mr Bongo is not looking back. He already seems to be preparing the next step, having appointed his son Nourredin Bongo Valentin as "general coordinator of presidential affairs" in late 2019.

The previous year Mr Bongo had suffered a stroke during a visit to Saudi Arabia and his chief of staff, Brice Laccruche Alihanga, became increasingly prominent in managing affairs during his long illness and convalescence.

But eventually the president reasserted control, with Mr Laccruche demoted, sacked and then arrested over corruption allegations, which he denies.

Meanwhile, Nourredin was installed in this crucial new post where he sees his father every day, is charged with "transmitting his wishes" to the rest of the government machine and has a free hand to intervene across the board on his behalf.

Amid the uncertainty over Ali's health, some speculate that Nourredin is being lined up to take over. 

He studied at the UK's elite Eton College, the London Business School and London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, and has a youthful modernising image.

French corruption probe

Far to the north, amid the fragilities of a Chadian political scene that just weeks ago lost the authoritarian Idriss Déby who had dominated it for three decades, huge challenges face his son Mahamat.

With his junta colleagues he must try to keep the regime's traditional military and clan supporters onside, but he is also under domestic and international pressure to open up political dialogue and respond to demands for meaningful democratisation.

Complications of a different kind concern the Equatorial Guinean regime which remains totally dominant but has been a core target of a French judicial probe into allegations that family assets were bought in France with the proceeds of corruption.

Both the Bongos and the Nguessos have also been targeted: the 13 individuals formally placed under investigation also include a lawyer who worked for the late President Omar Bongo and several French citizens.

In 2015 French judges ordered the seizure of two properties in the Paris region whose real owner, they believed, was Mr Sassou-Nguesso's nephew Wilfrid Nguesso; they had already ordered the seizure of around 15 luxury cars. 

Wilfrid was placed under formal investigation.

In 2016 Mr Sassou-Nguesso launched legal action in a bid to have cases related to him thrown out, while the government spokesman described the cases as an "immense manipulation" aimed at discrediting the president.

But the French judges pressed on and in mid-2017 they placed the president's daughter Julienne and her husband Guy Johnson, another nephew, Edgar, and a former sister-in-law, Catherine Ignanga, under formal investigation.

They identified €18.4m ($22.4m; £15.9m) in allegedly suspicious transfers that had taken place in 2008-09.

Equatorial Guinea and its luxury sports cars

But it is the Equatorial Guinean Vice-President, Teodoro, who has attracted most attention, with police raiding his luxury residence at 42 Avenue Foch in Paris as far back as 2012 and seizing several cars, including two Bugatti Veyrons and a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Teodoro himself was eventually sentenced to pay a €30m fine.

His government went to the International Court of Justice, arguing that the Avenue Foch mansion, valued at €107m, was its embassy in France and thus protected from seizure by diplomatic immunity.

However, last December the Court rejected that argument. And legislation that has been going through the French parliament will provide for the proceeds realised from such sequestered assets to be set aside and used to finance development projects in the country concerned.

Yet such arrangements will need to be tightly structured. After the authorities in Geneva, Switzerland, began legal action against Teodoro and two other individuals for alleged money laundering and the mismanagement of public assets, the case was eventually settled in September 2019 through an auction of 25 luxury vehicles, with the proceeds reserved for charitable development causes.

A Lamborghini Veneno Roadster fetched SFr8.2m ($9.1m; £6.5m and a blue and black carbon Koenigsegg One sold for SFr4.6m. 

With seven Ferraris, two other Lamborghinis, five Bentleys, a Maserati, an Aston Martin and a McLaren on the block the auction realised total proceeds of SFr23.4m.

About half were bought by a German dealer, acting for an unnamed client.

Five months later, on 22 February last year, a now-deleted picture was posted on Teodoro's Instagram account, showing him driving through the streets of the Equatorial Guinean capital Malabo - in the blue and black Koenigsegg.

Despite the recent trend towards presidential dynasties in some countries, it is not clear how sustainable they will prove in an increasingly youthful and urbanised Africa where expectations of change are growing.

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.@IMFNews Offers Bailout to Second African Nation in Less Than a Week @economics

The International Monetary Fund staff agreed to provide a $1 billion facility to Uganda, the lender’s second bailout to an African nation in four days to help the continent’s economies mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The loan to Uganda comes after the IMF staff on May 27 agreed to provide $1.5 billion to the Democratic Republic of Congo over the next three years, and following the Fund’s provision of more than $15 billion for sub-Saharan African nations since the pandemic hit the region in 2020. 

The latest deals need final approval by IMF management and its executive board.

The funds will help Uganda, Africa’s top coffee exporter, and Congo, the world’s biggest source of cobalt, recover from the pandemic that has reduced income and pushed 30 million across the continent into “extreme poverty.” 

The slow pace of vaccinations is also hampering recovery in nations across the region.

“Covid-19 continues to pose risks,” IMF said in a statement approving the three-year facility to Uganda on Tuesday. 

“Weaker external demand and possible resurgence of containment measures linked to higher Covid-19 positivity rates are downside risks. It will be important to identify contingency strategies in case these risks materialize.”

Uganda has seen a surge in virus infections over the past month, recording 614 new cases on May 30 and taking the total tally of confirmed cases to 47,761 and 362 deaths, according to the health ministry. 

The infection rate is 17.4%, compared with 1.5% on May 1.

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WHO regional overviews African Region @WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 1 June 2021

The African Region reported over 52 000 new cases and over 1100 new deaths, a 22% and an 11% increase respectively compared to the previous week. 

Case incidence increased after four consecutive weeks of a plateau in new weekly cases. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (26 498 new cases; a 24% increase)

Uganda (2424 new cases; a 191% increase)

Kenya (2377 new cases; a 13% decrease)

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (591 new deaths; 1.0 new deaths per 100 000 population; similar to the number reported in the previous week) 

Kenya (92 new deaths; 0.2 new deaths per 100 000; a 92% increase), 

Ethiopia (75 new deaths; 0.1 new deaths per 100 000; an 18% decrease)

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First time since February this year that South Africa has more than 5,000 SARS-CoV-2 infections. positivity rate is at 12%. @Tuliodna

First time since February this year that South Africa has more than 5,000 SARS-CoV-2 infections. It is also worrying that we may be seeing only the tip of the iceberg as testing positivity rate is at 12%.

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Here's a plot overlaying #COVID19 cases for 1st, 2nd and current waves in South Africa @rid1tweets

For comparison:

• Current 7-day avg = 3,967. Current doubling rate = 21 days

• At ~4k cases in 2nd wave, doubling= 15 days

• And 1st wave, doubling= 22 days

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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June 2021

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