For this week’s round-up of articles, we noticed a theme: the most alarming articles are about governments going over-the-top, grabbing powers in the name of stopping the Coronavirus.
Here are some examples that we found absurd, and downright creepy:
WHO officials says next step could be separating families
A World Health Organization official said that the next step in controlling the spread of the virus could involve raiding homes, and separating families.
Here is what the Executive Director at the WHO Health Emergencies Program, Dr. Michael Ryan, said during an interview:
“In most parts of the world, due to lockdown, most of the transmission that’s actually happening in many countries now is happening in the household, at family level. In some senses, transmission has been taken off the streets and pushed back into family units. Now we need to go and look in families and find those people who may be sick and remove them, and isolate them, in a safe and dignified manner.”
Well that escalated quickly. Now we are talking about raiding homes and seizing family members who are sick.
Where is the limit on government powers during an emergency?
Colorado County kicks out everyone who isn’t an official resident
Nonresidents in Gunnison County Colorado could face $5,000 fines and 18 months in prison if they don’t leave.
But it is not just vacation renters and temporary workers who the town has told to take a hike.
“Non-resident homeowners” are also now banned from stepping foot on their own property within county limits.
So even if someone owns a vacation home, or second house in the county, unless it is their official legal residence, the county claims the authority to arrest and imprison homeowners.
Prison. For simply being on your own private property.
China censors research on origins of Coronavirus
Back in February, Chinese scientists were free to publish studies about the coronavirus with normal peer-review standards.
But now, any Chinese researcher looking to publish a study or paper tracing the origins of the CoronaVirus must first gain government approval.
What’s interesting is that even the order from the government, which mandates censorship over research, was itself censored!
Two universities (who were conducting research on the origins of the coronavirus) received a censorship order from the government.
The universities then posted the censorship order on their websites. Then, suddenly, poof… both their research, AND the censorship order, vanished.
(Fortunately the research still exists, and the censorship order was archived by web crawlers. Let that be a lesson: the Internet is forever.)
The order shows an announcement of new rules from the State Council called “Notice on the publication of academic papers related to the New Coronary Pneumonia Epidemic.”
In addition to extra academic scrutiny, the notice tells colleges to submit the papers to the government council. They will decide if it will be approved for publication, in China and abroad.
The Chinese government wants to give the impression that the reason for this is purely high academic standards– making sure false information doesn’t get out surrounding the virus.
Or perhaps they might be trying to control the narrative as rumors swirl and criticism mounts.
California Department of Justice raids private businesses to seize masks
The California Department of Justice is tight-lipped about a handful of raids last week.
In one of three locations, agents confiscated about 50,000 masks from a man they claim does not have a license to resell the masks.
The owner of one warehouse, however, claims he does in fact have a license to sell the masks, and acquired them legally. He was given a citation anyway.
Others in California have been arrested in sting operations for “price gouging” while selling N95 respirator masks. The state defines “price gouging” as selling an emergency item for more than a 10% mark-up during an emergency.