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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Tuesday 15th of June 2021

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30-day normalized change (in bps) across the various UST curves: @EffMktHype
World Of Finance

"Sticky vs Transitory" continues to be the dominating question that markets are trying to figure out as yields fall since the NFP miss.

Also worth noting that 10s and 30s are basically in lockstep over this period.

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People’s power to forget is enormous, said Hitler on value of propaganda @NH_India @ranjona
Law & Politics

Suddenly, after seven years of consistent hero worship of the great Narendra Modi and his version of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian politics has entered the rollercoaster section of our democratic amusement park. 

It took one defeat in the Bengal assembly election in May this year for the ride to get bumpy.

Modi and the BJP coasted through the arbitrary, demonic demonetisation of 85 percent of Indian legal tender in 2016, through the economic chaos that followed, through a vicious and violent campaign against Muslims, Dalits and religious minorities, through assaults on citizenship rights, on the rights of Kashmir, on free speech and expression, on democracy itself.

The massive appeal of Modi overrode all of Modi’s own disasters, regardless of a few defeats here and there, a few people who died, a few who suffered… 

The overwhelming victory in the 2019 general election was the best stamp of approval from Indians ever.

Or so people were made to think because being made to think what someone wants you to think is an integral part of neo democracy where “political consultants”, “election strategists” and their social media bombardment replace the ability of the voter to think for themselves

Democracy overridden for the “greater good” of the chosen political candidate and party. If you are consistently told that there is no other alternative, at some point you may well believe it.

Propaganda is not new, and someone or the other has done it before you. But the thought-controllers will have you believe that since Q, W and E had done it before, R and T are thus perfectly justified in messing with your mind. For a while, maybe you believe this.

Then, sometimes, something happens. It could be a war. It could be a devastating pandemic. 

It could be that little child who speaks the truth the adults cannot see. 

It could be none of those things. It could just be that someone somewhere woke up and one morning and forgot to turn on the propaganda machine.

The one that told you that election results in Punjab did not matter, because The Leader is still the most loved. And did a survey to “prove” it. 

Or that the results in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were aberrations to be overturned. 

Or that what happened in Maharashtra was some canny chicanery. Or that Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand don’t matter.

The BJP’s losses in Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala happened in May. 

The big effort for Modi and the BJP was Bengal and that loss rankles. Even if the propagandists presented a defeat as a victory. It rankles. Because the result went against the massive efforts of the machine. Nothing worked. 

The misogynistic catcalls, the chest thumps, the tears, the promises, the massive money spent to lure away both candidates and voters: did not work.

The Prime Minister abandoned a nation bent backwards by a virus and it did not work. The great oratory. The wily machinations of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the greatest election manipulator ever. Did not work.

And now, it just got worse. Not even two months after Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress thumped the BJP in Bengal, an exodus out of the BJP begins. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. 

The pattern is for rats to jump ship from other political parties and join the BJP. What sort of a rat leaves a party, joins the BJP with followers and then jumps back into the TMC, taking those followers with him as Mukul Roy has just done?

Maybe, it’s the sort of rat that makes a few calculations and opens his eyes to life around him in India.

Power is a potent aphrodisiac. But it can stink. And right now, there is an overwhelming stench of the dead bodies floating in the Ganga, of shallow graves across all riverbanks, of crematoria working overtime… That smell of death is all-pervasive. 

And maybe, not everyone likes it. Maybe there’s not a lot of favour to be gained when a populace is scrambling for livelihood on its hands and knees…

There’s a long way to go of course before any of us can get off this ride. The propagandists are not going to stop so easily no matter the stink or the setbacks, when it comes to puffing up the wannabe emperor. And equally, pulling down any challengers, whether putative or as yet unknown.

As Lewis Carroll put it, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Just don’t listen to those propagandists!

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States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”
Law & Politics

Ibn Khaldun explained the intrinsic relationship between political leadership and the management of pandemics in the pre-colonial period in his book Muqaddimah 

Historically, such pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration” and, in the process, challenged their “power and curtailed their [rulers’] influence...” 

Rulers who are only concerned with the well-being of their “inner circle and their parties” are an incurable “disease”. 

States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”

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Nations w/ high COVID-19 2wk avg case/day increase @jmlukens

Zambia: 556%

Congo: 289%

Uganda: 254%

Namibia: 216%

Mongolia: 139%

Afghanistan: 133%

UK: 128%

Oman: 84%

South Africa: 81%

Bangladesh: 57%

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The Battle Over the Coronavirus Lab-Leak Theory @NewYorker H/T @gdemaneuf

a standard device in detective stories is a map on which certain buildings are circled. Their locations are thought to be revealing, though often they just create a false trail. 

When four of the first cases of a strange, pneumonia-like illness seen in Wuhan, China, in December, 2019, were found to have a connection to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, it seemed a key to solving the mystery of the illness’s origin. 

Live animals were reportedly on sale there, offering a route for pathogens to jump from wild species to humans. 

But then other cases, some of them earlier, were identified, with no known connection to the market. 

In due course, more sites were circled on the pandemic map. One was the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which contains a Biosafety Level 4 lab. 

The institute’s work included experiments on the bat coronaviruses that are among the closest known relatives to sars-CoV-2, which causes covid-19.

The market and the institute have at times served as shorthand for two broad sets of possible answers about the origin of the virus: that it was “zoonotic,” meaning that it travelled directly from animals, or that it was transmitted by an accidental “lab leak,” from a place such as the Wuhan Institute. 

On May 26th, President Joe Biden, in a statement, described U.S. intelligence agencies as being uncertain about which scenario is more likely, with a majority of them believing that firm evidence for either is lacking. 

Biden asked them to “redouble their efforts” and come back with a better answer in ninety days.

The debate has become, to an unfortunate degree, loud, contentious, and infused with politics. Former President Donald Trump has insinuated that the Chinese government intentionally spread the virus as part of a plan to have it take hold in this country and destroy our economy. 

Republican members of Congress have turned a recently disclosed e-mail mentioning a possible lab source, which Anthony Fauci received in February, 2020, into yet another argument for firing him, apparently because he didn’t instantly condemn Beijing. 

Earlier this month, Fauci told the Financial Times that he still thinks it’s most likely that the coronavirus jumped species, but that “we need to keep on investigating until a possibility is proven.”

The Chinese government has not helped by failing, at almost every stage, to respond transparently to questions or to share information. 

Beijing’s decision, earlier this year, to seriously constrain the work of an investigation sponsored by the World Health Organization meant that the resulting report, which perfunctorily dismissed the lab-leak theory, was not seen as credible. 

(The director-general of the W.H.O. pointedly told member states, “All hypotheses remain on the table.”) 

There is some concern that exploring the theory will further incite xenophobia—with China being blamed for every consequence of a pandemic that the United States also failed to control. 

Yet Chinese citizens have consistently pushed back against censorship, often at personal risk. 

According to official figures, covid-19 has killed almost four million people; a study by The Economist concludes that the true number may be close to thirteen million. Partisanship, in whatever form, can’t be the guide here.

From the beginning, it made sense that sars-CoV-2 would have a zoonotic origin, because that is how other novel pathogens, such as the viruses causing Ebola, sars, and mers, have emerged. 

The genome of sars-CoV-2 implies that it is descended from a coronavirus that infected a horseshoe bat, but when it was identified in Wuhan it had already adapted very well to infect humans. 

This may suggest that it spent time either in another animal—sars and mers are believed to have moved from bats to civets and camels, respectively, before reaching humans—or in people elsewhere. 

An intermediate population hasn’t been identified, but there are a lot of places to look: even if Huanan Seafood is not the source, there are more than a dozen markets selling live animals in the city. 

Wuhan is a metropolis of eleven million inhabitants, and it is crisscrossed by travellers, with an international airport and an expansive subway system. 

It’s worth noting that the natural zoonotic path for novel pathogens often relies on some distinctly unnatural disruption, such as climate change, poaching, or urban sprawl, to spur encounters between species.

Meanwhile, “lab leak” has come to describe at least two related theories. 

The first starts with the observation that the Wuhan Institute has worked with bat coronaviruses; its researchers have collected samples from sites hundreds of miles away, including a disused mine where, in 2012, six workers fell ill with sars-like symptoms. 

All that activity involved a great deal of interaction between researchers, locals, and many bats, and in that context it’s conceivable that a novel virus could emerge, or be transmitted, or be collected and then accidentally mishandled. 

This might be better called the “lab nexus” theory, because it envisions the lab as a crossroads for people and viruses. 

According to information from a U.S. intelligence report published by the Wall Street Journal, three workers at the institute became sick in November, 2019, with symptoms consistent with both covid-19 and seasonal illnesses, and sought hospital care. 

Fauci has said that he’d like to see their medical records.

The scientific work itself—some of which benefitted from National Institutes of Health funding—forms the basis for what might be called the “lab-experiment leak” theory. 

The Wuhan Institute is one of a number of labs around the world, including in Europe and the United States, that have engaged in “gain of function” studies. This means that viruses are in some way engineered, in many cases to make them more infectious or more virulent. 

The idea—and there is disagreement about whether it is a good one—is that doing so will better prepare scientists to fight future viruses. 

But, in the short run, additional novel pathogens are in close proximity to humans; the provocative question is whether sars-CoV-2 was one of them. 

Scientists who have examined its genome are divided about whether it shows signs of engineering, specifically in an area known as the “furin cleavage site,” and about whether such signs would even be discernible

A leading scientist at the Wuhan Institute, Shi Zhengli, known as the Bat Woman, has said that she is confident that the virus was not one worked on in her lab.

There are wilder theories, too, involving intimations of biowarfare plots. But, although the lab-leak scenario figures in many conspiracy theories, it is not itself a conspiracy theory; the consensus is that it is unproved, but plausible. 

That possibility alone should prompt serious reflection on the practices in virological labs. Yet what is striking is that none of the theories are reassuring. 

Each implicates something about how we, collectively, live on the planet. And each suggests that many things need to change. ♦

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

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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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
World Of Finance

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

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

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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US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility @CNN
Law & Politics

The US government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, after a French company that part owns and helps operate it warned of an "imminent radiological threat," according to US officials and documents reviewed by CNN.

Despite the alarming notification from Framatome, the French company, the Biden administration believes the facility is not yet at a "crisis level," one of the sources said.

However, the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant published a statement on its website Sunday night local time, maintaining that environmental readings for both the plant and its surrounding area were "normal."

The two nuclear reactors in Taishan are both operational, the statement said, adding that Unit 2 had recently completed an "overhaul" and "successfully connected to the grid on June 10, 2021." 

The statement did not define why or how the plant was overhauled.

The company followed up with DOE on June 8 asking for an expedited review of their request, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

"The situation is an imminent radiological threat to the site and to the public and Framatome urgently requests permission to transfer technical data and assistance as may be necessary to return the plant to normal operation," read the June 8 memo from the company's subject matter expert to the Energy Department.

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Why is the universe so uncannily, so eerily, so terribly quiet? Because in the dark forest, anything that makes a sound gets eaten.

The alien researcher on the other side of the communication warns her that its society is utterly twisted and that she must never make contact again, lest they invade Earth:

Do not answer!

Do not answer!!

Do not answer!!!

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"The Dark Forest," which continues the story of the invasion of Earth by the ruthless and technologically superior Trisolarans, introduces Liu’s three axioms of “cosmic sociology.” @nfergus

First, “Survival is the primary need of civilization.” 

Second, “Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.” 

Third, “chains of suspicion” and the risk of a “technological explosion” in another civilization mean that in space there can only be the law of the jungle. 

In the words of the book’s hero, Luo Ji:

The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost ... trying to tread without sound ... 

The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. 

If he finds other life — another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod — 

there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people ... any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out.

This is intergalactic Darwinism.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2137

Dollar Index 90.436

Japan Yen 110.00

Swiss Franc 0.8985

Pound 1.41095

Aussie 0.7701

India Rupee 73.2855

South Korea Won 1117.825

Brazil Real 5.061

Egypt Pound 15.64

South Africa Rand 13.756

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Lessons for Africa from India’s Deadly COVID Surge @AfricaACSS

India has been grappling with a deadly COVID-19 surge that hit the country like a cyclone in early April. 

Within a month, new daily cases peaked at over 400,000. On May 19, India set a global record of 4,529 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours. 

Over 500 Indian physicians have perished from COVID since March. 

The actual figures on these counts are likely to be much higher due to testing limitations. Conservative estimates indicate India has experienced over 400 million cases and 600,000 deaths overall.

India’s hospitals are overflowing with patients in the hallways and lobbies. What hospital beds are available are often shared by two patients. Thousands more are turned away. 

Entire families in the cities are falling ill, as are whole villages in some rural areas. 

Countries in the region, such as Nepal, Thailand, and Malaysia, have also experienced a sharp uptick in cases fueled by the highly transmissible Indian variant.

India’s surge is also remarkable considering the country largely avoided the worst of the earlier stages of the pandemic.

“India’s COVID-19 surge is a warning for Africa.”

Like India, Africa mostly avoided the worst of the pandemic last year. 

Many Sub-Saharan African countries share similar sociodemographic features as India: a youthful population, large rural populations that spend a significant portion of the day outdoors, large extended family structures, few old age homes, densely populated urban areas, and weak tertiary care health systems. 

As in India, many African countries have been loosening social distancing and other preventative measures. 

A recent survey by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reveals that 56 percent of African states were “actively loosening controls and removing the mandatory wearing of face-masks.” 

Moreover, parts of Africa have direct, longstanding ties to India, providing clear pathways for the new Indian variant to spread between the continents.

So, what has been driving India’s COVID-19 surge and what lessons might this hold for Africa?

The Indian Variant Is More Transmissible

In February, India was seeing a steady drop of infections across the country, and life was seemingly returning to normal. 

Unfortunately, this was just a calm before the storm. 

That same month, a new variant, B.1.617, was identified in the western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s largest city of Mumbai. 

Now widely known as the “Indian variant,” B.1.617.2 (or “Delta” variant according to WHO’s labeling) is believed to be roughly 50 percent more transmissible than the U.K. or South African variants of the virus, which, in turn, are believed to be 50 percent more transmissible than the original variant, SARS-CoV-2, detected in Wuhan.

Some experts say the emergence of B.1.617.2 represented a significant turning point. Within weeks, the new variant spread throughout southwest India and then to New Delhi and surrounding states in the north. 

Densely populated urban centers of New Delhi and Mumbai became hotspots. 

The virus then started spreading rapidly in poor, rural states across the country.

Medical professionals are saying the new variant is infecting more young people compared to the transmissions of 2020. 

Multiple variants are now circulating in India, including the Brazil (P.1) and U.K. (B.1.1.7) variants. 

Moreover, a triple mutant variant, B.1.618, has been identified and is predominantly circulating in West Bengal State. 

A triple mutant variant is formed when three mutations of a virus combine to form a new variant. 

Much remains unknown about B.1.618, though initial reports suggest it may be more infectious than other variants.

Complacency and the Loosening of Restrictions

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a global threat in 2020, Indian authorities implemented a strict and early lockdown, educational campaigns on mask wearing, and ramped up testing and contact tracing where they could. 

However, since the peak of infections in September 2020, a public narrative started to emerge that COVID-19 no longer posed a serious threat. It was also believed that large cities had reached a measure of herd immunity. 

The relative youth of India and its mostly rural population that spends much of its time outdoors, further contributed to the sense that India had escaped the public health emergencies seen in other parts of the world.

“Government messaging during the first few months of 2021 boosted the narrative that India was no longer at risk.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory over the coronavirus in late January. 

In March, India’s health minister, Harsh Vardhan, proclaimed the country was “in the endgame of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Behavioral fatigue also set in. Mask wearing waned, as did social distancing, all while tourism opened up and people began traveling to other parts of the country as in pre-pandemic times. 

Leaders in the western state of Goa, a popular tourist destination, began ignoring pandemic protocols and allowed entry to tens of thousands of tourists in an effort to bounce back from the economic fallout of the 2020 lockdown. 

Instead, Goa is believed to be the epicenter of the 2021 surge and now has one of the highest rates of infection in the country.

People began socializing in large gatherings elsewhere in the country as well. 

Contradictory COVID-19 protocols that called for strict night curfews and weekend lockdowns while simultaneously allowing large weddings and mass religious festivals only added to the collective sense of confusion and complacency. Contact tracing and follow-up in the field largely stopped.

Super-Spreader Events

India’s COVID-19 surge was also seemingly driven by a variety of super-spreader events. 

Most prominently were two international cricket matches in Gujarat State in western India where 130,000 fans converged, mostly unmasked, at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Prime Minister Modi, himself unmasked, campaigned in state elections at rallies of thousands of maskless supporters in March and April. 

In West Bengal, where voting is held in eight phases, infections have since spiked.

Thousands gathered in the state of Uttar Pradesh to celebrate Holi, the weeklong festival of colors that began on March 29. 

Meanwhile, millions pilgrimaged to the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand State in April, which possibly led to “the biggest super-spreader [event] in the history of this pandemic.”  

Leaders in Uttarakhand not only allowed the festival to take place but also openly encouraged attendance from all over the world saying, “Nobody will be stopped in the name of Covid-19.”

Warning for Africa

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India underscores why African countries cannot let their guard down or succumb to myths that cast doubt on how to bring the pandemic to a halt. 

Most directly, the Indian variant has already reached Africa. It was first detected in Uganda on April 29, 2021, and is now circulating in at least 16 African countries

Moreover, hospitals and ICUs in Uganda are now reporting an overflow of cases linked to the Indian variant. 

Many of the incoming patients are young people. India also shares similar social features with Africa: a young population, extended family structures that include caring for the elderly at home, and returning to less-populated rural areas of origin when crisis strikes.

Previous analysis has shown that there is not a single African COVID-19 trajectory

Rather, reflective of the continent’s great diversity, there are multiple, distinct risk profiles

Two of these risk profiles—Complex Microcosms and Gateway Countries—seem particularly relevant when assessing the Indian surge risk for Africa.

Complex Microcosms represent countries with large urban populations and widely varying social and geographic landscapes. 

Many inhabitants of countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, and Ethiopia live in densely populated informal settlements, making them particularly susceptible to the rapid transmission of the coronavirus. 

This group also has a higher level of risk due to their weaker health systems, which limits the capacity for testing, reporting, and responding to transmissions. 

Both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria are among Complex Microcosm countries that have already detected the Indian variant.

Gateway countries, such as Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and South Africa, have among the highest levels of international trade, travel, tourism, and port traffic on the continent. 

This makes them more exposed to potentially more infectious and deadly variants that have emerged from other parts of the world, such as India. 

The interconnected nature of South Asia and the African continent is seen by the early detection of the Indian variant in Algeria, Morocco, and South Africa.

India and the African continent have strong historical, cultural, and economic bonds. Roughly 3 million people of Indian origin live on the continent, and India is Africa’s second most important trading partner after China

Southern and East Africa, in particular, have deep ties to India and large Indian populations with families on both continents. 

In short, there are many economic and socially driven pathways for the Indian variant to reach Africa.

Priorities for Africa

Lessons from India show that its unprecedented COVID-19 surge was driven by both a more transmissible variant as well as by letting its guard down on preventative public health measures. 

This exposed the vulnerability of India’s closely integrated and densely populated demographics. 

A number of African countries also face elevated risks to the spread of the pandemic. Learning from India’s experience highlights several priorities for Africa.

Sustained Vigilance. Africa must remain vigilant since some of the same presumed protections India claimed, such as large rural populations that spend much of the day outside, may not guard against the next wave. 

The new Indian variants are spreading rapidly among young populations, and there is evidence that these newer variants, rather than just exploiting compromised immune systems, are causing some young healthy immune systems to overreact, resulting in severe inflammation and other serious symptoms.

This was the pattern observed in Africa during the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic. The second wave of this pandemic was the result of a significantly more infectious and lethal strain that devasted the continent, infecting the young and the healthy. 

Countries outside Africa exposed to the mild first wave seemed to experience a reduced impact during the second wave, even though the two strains were markedly different. 

Having largely escaped the mild first wave, Africa was particularly vulnerable to the virulent second wave.

Continued Importance of Mask Wearing and Social Distancing. The strength of Africa’s public health system is its emphasis on prevention over curative care. 

African health systems do not have the infrastructure or supplies to respond to a crush of cases. Yet, many African countries have been actively loosening mask mandates and social distancing controls. 

On May 8, the Africa CDC hosted a Joint Meeting of African Union Ministers of Health on COVID-19 to encourage governments to overcome pandemic fatigue and invest in preparedness. 

With an eye toward India, prevention measures such as mask wearing, social distancing, and good hand hygiene are still as important as ever until vaccines become more readily available.

“Africa must remain vigilant since some of the same presumed protections India claimed, such as large rural populations that spend much of the day outside, may not guard against the next wave.”

Public Messaging. India suffered from confusing messaging at the early stages of the surge with prominent leaders and public health officials downplaying the severity of the risk and not modeling safe practices with their own behaviors. 

As they did with the initial onset of the pandemic, African leaders must convey clearly and consistently that the COVID-19 threat persists. 

Special outreach must be made to youth, who may feel they are immune, but who face greater risks from the Indian variant than previous variants that were transmitted on the continent. 

In cases where there is a low level of trust in government pronouncements, communication from trusted interlocutors such as public health practitioners, cultural and religious leaders, community leaders, and celebrities, will be especially important.

Ramping Up of Vaccine Campaigns. According to the Africa CDC, the continent has administered just 24.2 million doses to a population of 1.3 billion. Representing less than 2 percent of the population, this is the lowest vaccination rate of any region in the world. With the Indian and other variants coursing through Africa, the potential for the emergence of additional variants rises, posing shifting threats to the continent’s citizens. Containing the virus in Africa, in turn, is integral to the global campaign to end the pandemic. Recognizing the global security implications if the virus continues to spread unchecked in parts of Africa, the United Nations Security Council has expressed concern over the low number of vaccines going to Africa.

While this can largely be attributed to the limited availability of vaccines in Africa during the early part of 2021, this is changing. A number of African countries are now unable to use the doses they have available as a result of widespread vaccine hesitancy driven by myths surrounding the safety of the vaccines. Meanwhile, several African countries have not yet placed their vaccine orders with Afreximbank.

African governments and public health officials, therefore, need to ramp up all phases of their COVID-19 vaccine rollout—public awareness and education, identification of vulnerable populations for prioritization, and logistical preparations and outreach—for a mass vaccination effort to reach as large a share of their populations as possible. Africa’s well-established networks of community health workers provide a vital backbone as well as a trusted and experienced delivery mechanism to successfully achieve these objectives. With technical, financial, and logistical support from external partners, African vaccination campaigns can rise to meet the challenge.

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The countries with the highest reproduction number of SARS-CoV-2 as estimated from reported cases are listed below. All are in Africa, except 1. @lrossouw

The average daily cases over the last week is also shown.  Some have very low numbers of cases but all have large R.  All are in Africa, except 1.

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The rapid outbreak in Uganda continues. Relative to the size of the population it is still a low rate of infections, but the speed of the outbreak is what is concerning. The positive rate also increased rapidly, to 16%. @MaxCRoser

The rapid outbreak in Uganda continues. Relative to the size of the population it is still a low rate of infections, but the speed of the outbreak is what is concerning. It doesn’t appear to be due to an increase in testing. The positive rate also increased rapidly, to 16%.

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Stemming the Insurrection in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado @CrisisGroup H/T @DinoMahtani

Cabo Delgado is a province that has long been ripe for conflict. 

In 2007, frustrated youth in the province’s southern districts dominated by ethnic Makua began denouncing the authority of local religious leaders, especially those close to the country’s official Muslim council. 

By the mid-2010s, ethnic Mwani militants in the coastal district of Mocímboa da Praia had joined the fray. 

Their activism had an Islamist tinge: they pushed for alcohol bans while opposing the enrolment of children in state schools and the right of women to work. 

But it was also fuelled by their economic exclusion amid the discovery of rubies and natural gas. 

They resented, too, the influence of liberation-era generals who have business interests in the province and are drawn from President Filipe Nyusi’s Makonde ethnic group. 

Amid this boiling resentment, authorities expelled artisanal miners from commercial mining concessions in early 2017, further feeding local discontent. 

Militants, known to locals as al-Shabab (not to be confused with Al-Shabaab, the jihadist group in Somalia) moved to armed revolt in October 2017.

Once the cradle of Mozambique’s war of liberation from colonial occupation, the resource-rich but impoverished northern province of Cabo Delgado is today home to another conflict critical to the country’s destiny.

Separated from Maputo by some 2,000km of coastline, Cabo Delgado is a province whose political economy has been shaped by the war of independence and its aftermath. 

Following the end of Portuguese rule in Mozambique in 1975, senior Frelimo liberation-era figures drawn from the Makonde tribe prevalent in the province’s northern plateau claimed top positions for themselves, including provincial governorships, while placing their allies in national administrative and military posts as a reward for their central role in the struggle against colonial occupation. 

The fifteen years from 1977 to 1992 saw illicit trade proliferate in Cabo Delgado, as local elites enriched themselves by smuggling timber, precious stones and ivory, without being encumbered by the government in Maputo or affected by Frelimo’s war with Renamo, which barely touched the province.

Since the 1990s, the province’s economy has only become further characterised by forms of monopoly and illicit activity, much of which ties back to senior Frelimo figures and their business allies. 

As the civil war receded into memory, senior Makonde continued to dominate Cabo Delgado’s politics and economy. 

Over the next years, top Makonde generals who had been key figures in the liberation war, including those who went on to serve as governors, began focusing on expanding their business interests in the province. 

These included forestry, mining and transport operations that were often backed by state loans. 

In the same period, Cabo Delgado’s remote coastline also became a documented hotspot for the import and transhipment of heroin and other narcotics via cartels run by Mozambicans of South Asian descent who received protection from Frelimo’s uppermost echelons at both the provincial and national levels. 

The proceeds from such illicit trade washed through the political system, keeping Maputo content with the status quo in Cabo Delgado.

In the words of one senior government official working in Cabo Delgado: “What has happened is essentially a protest against socio-economic asymmetries and inequalities”.

The tensions in Cabo Delgado appeared to heighten after 2009, as the state earmarked the province as a future source of mining and hydrocarbon revenue. 

A rich deposit of rubies was discovered in the western district of Montepuez in 2009, followed by giant reserves of natural gas in the seabed off Palma.

In the end, the choice of Nyusi, a younger Makonde, represented a tense compromise between the caucuses loyal to the Makonde generals and the outgoing president Armando Guebuza, who had been seeking a third term of office, and under whom Nyusi had served as defence minister.

An armed phase of the insurrection soon started. It would accelerate into a humanitarian catastrophe and threat to regional stability. 

Almost 3,000 people would lose their lives and hundreds of thousands flee their homes and native districts in the next three and a half years of conflict.

In the meantime, Nyusi has now begun to take advice from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on how to manage the military response to al-Shabab. 

On the same day that the SADC meeting was postponed, Nyusi flew to Kigali to meet Kagame and Rwandan security officials to discuss possible security cooperation. 

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.@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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Ethiopia Seeks Expressions of Interest for 40% of State Telecom @business

Ethiopia called for expressions of interest for a minority stake in the state-controlled telecommunications company, starting the process of recruiting a second major investor into the country in less than a month.

Investors have a month, beginning June 15, to submit interest for 40% of Ethiopia Telecommunications Corp., Brook Taye, a senior advisor at the finance ministry, told reporters in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. 

Requests for proposals will be issued thereafter, Brook said.

The sale in Ethio Telecom, as the company is known, comes on the heels of a new telecommunications license awarded to a Safaricom Plc-led consortium last month. 

Opening up the sector is part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s plan to attract more foreign capital and maintain one of the fastest economic growth rates in Africa, and create more jobs.

Ethio Telecom generated revenue of 25.6 billion birr ($600 million) in the six months through December and has about 53 million subscribers. 

The government will retain 55% of the company, while 5% will be provided to Ethiopian investors probably through an initial public offering, according to Brook.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation with about 110 million people, is one of the largest remaining telecommunications markets and has for long been coveted by investors, including Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and MTN Group Ltd.

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State dilemma deepens on global oil price rally. @BD_Africa
Kenyan Economy

This has the potential to be highly problematical. 

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

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