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Covid devastates US; no hue and cry in media

Mass burials are happening in the pandemic-hit US, but for its media houses, Biden can do no wrong, either in handling Afghanistan or Covid-19

Covid devastates US; no hue and cry in media
Roberto Arias prepares a grave for burial at Woodlawn Cemetery during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Everett, Massachusetts, U.S., 27 May 2020 [Brian Snyder, Reuters] Mass graves of people who died of Covid-19 were reported by small media outlets in March 2021 too but they are no longer bothering big news mediums like The New York Times or Washington Post

Fifteen staffers of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools District in the United States have died from Covid-19 in the past 10 days, officials said. Sonia Diaz, a spokesperson for several unions in the school district, confirmed the number of deaths.

One of the educators that lost their to Covid-19 was Abe Coleman, a teacher for more than 30 years. “It’s a tremendous loss. The number of lives that he impacted are countless. So many young men had the benefit of him intervening in their lives and pointing them in the right direction,” said Marcus Bright, with 5000 Role Models of Excellence.

Meanwhile, public health officials are closely monitoring the mu variant of the coronavirus now circulating in Los Angeles County, though they say the delta variant remains the greatest cause for concern. Labelled as a “variant of interest” on Aug. 30 by the World Health Organization, the mu variant has been identified in 167 cases to date in LA County, the county Department of Public Health said.

“The identification of variants like Mu, and the spreading of variants across the globe, highlights the need for LA County residents to continue to take measures to protect themselves and others,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said in a statement.

The mu variant was first identified in Colombia in January 2021. It has since popped up in 39 other countries, the LA County officials said. 

Although further studies are needed to determine if the mu variant is more contagious than other Covid-19 strains, it has been found to have key mutations linked to greater transmissibility and the potential to evade antibodies, the department said. 

“This is what makes getting vaccinated and layering protections so important. These are actions that break the chain of transmission and limits Covid-19 proliferation that allows for the virus to mutate into something that could be more dangerous,” Ferrer said.

Elsewhere, New York City public schools reopen in less than two weeks, on 13 September, but there are still plenty of questions surrounding the health and safety of students and staff. Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter and NYC Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi testified at a City Council oversight hearing on the back-to-school health and safety protocols.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the state legislature into a special session; she said she wanted to extend the state’s eviction moratorium and add protections for tenants and landlords.

The recommended that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there.

While hospital systems remain stressed in Washington by the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases driven by the delta variant and unvaccinated people, health officials announced at a Thursday press briefing that state data indicates case rates could plateau — for now.

But officials warn Labor Day weekend gatherings could lead to another spike in cases and hospitalizations.

Though the state is still in the fifth wave, officials expressed hope that cases could flatten. But hospitalizations may remain high for a few more weeks.

Scott Lindquist, acting chief science officer for the Department of Health, urged people to use caution during Labor Day weekend and be mindful of any “risky” behaviour because “our emergency rooms, our intensive care units are so full.”

“We’re seeing hospitalization numbers we have never seen before,” Lindquist said.

The Washington State Fair begins Friday in Puyallup, despite health officials’ warning earlier this week to remain “extremely cautious” about attending mass gatherings.

Nevertheless, in stark contrast to the open breast-beating the international media was indulging in while covering the Chinese origin coronavirus-caused Covid-19 in India, no Western news agency or media house is editorialising its reports on the pandemic in the US with hyperventilating opinions.

Contrary to the harping on mass cremations in India at the time of the second wave caused by the Delta Plus variant, there has been no report since March this year on mass burials in the US although it is very much happening. On 25 March, The New York Times had reported, “As many as one-tenth of the people who have died from the coronavirus in New York City may be buried on Hart Island, the city’s potter’s field, according to an analysis of city data.”

“The analysis, a collaboration between Columbia Journalism School’s Stabile Center of Investigative Journalism and a nonprofit news website, The City, found a huge increase in burials on Hart Island in 2020 — 2,334 adults were buried there, up from 846 in 2019. The reporters, citing public health officials, attributed the increase largely to the pandemic: people killed by the coronavirus or by other medical issues that went unaddressed because of the crisis,” the NYT said.

The American broadsheet had noted back in March that there was a similar, though smaller, surge in Hart Island burials in the late 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

A month later, Vox reported, citing THE CITY and Columbia Journalism School’s Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, that Hart Island, a small piece of off the Bronx in New York City, had resurfaced in national headlines in April 2020, when New York City became the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US.

News footage of the island’s cemetery showed trenches being filled with pine coffins, sending shockwaves around the world. But these mass burials taking place during the pandemic are just the most recent in Hart Island’s long history.

It is still happening if local news sources in the US are to be believed. But for the big media houses, Joe Biden can do no wrong, either in handling Afghanistan or Covid-19. Only India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi can and does, or so believes American and European news media!

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