Coronavirus: Information Against Misinformation
By Jackson Okpale
The nations of the world are currently battling with the Coronavirus pandemic, and this coincides with the period of massive information and misinformation sharing. While many religious sects are beginning to believe that the advent of the pandemic is divine, followers of world events believe that it is as a result of the long war for world dominance between the communist People’s Republic of China and the capitalist United States of America.
THE STRUGGLE FOR DOMINANCE
The struggle for dominance is as old as ancient civilizations that produced kingdoms and empires. History has shown that the rise of one kingdom often meant the fall of another. The United Kingdom dominated the world as a superpower until after World War II when the United States of America and the Soviet Union emerged as the new superpowers.
The two, motivated by the race for dominance, treated one other with mistrust, hence the bitter cold war between them. As foes, they employed every known tactic to pull down one another.
The 1980s economic decline and reforms under President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union led to the collapse of the Union, and on December 31, 1991, the Union ceased to exist, having split into 15 independent countries:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Russia, which inherited the U.S.S.R.’s permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and all its embassies.
The United States of America emerged as the sole superpower from the cold war, and made itself the world Sherriff. America established bases in many nations of the world to stop the rise of communism among other things.
While the Cold War was going on, the Soviet Union introduced the Third World countries into communist ideologies.
After the victory of the communist party in China, the new People’s Republic of China under the Chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Mao Zedong in 1949 approached the Soviet Union for policy direction and influence. “The period 1949–52 was marked by changes in Soviet influence in China. The officially sanctioned terms of that influence had been worked out in a visit by Mao to Moscow from mid-December 1949 until the following March and were formalized in the Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance (signed Feb. 14, 1950).”
In May 1966, Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution to “preserve Chinese Communism by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society…. China was isolated internationally, having declared its enmity towards both the Soviet Union and the United States.”
The Cultural Revolution plunged China into crisis until September 9, 1976 when Mao Zedong died and the new leaders abandoned the ideology. On January 1, 1979, the United States and China established diplomatic relations, after a visit by the United States President Richard Nixon in 1972. The new leaders of the PRC commenced the era of market- oriented reforms and opened the economy to capitalist’s investors and ideologies. Chinese students were sent to American universities to study courses in science and engineering discipline. China became transformed into a leading global market by the turn of the 20th century into the early 21st century.
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SOUL OF AFRICA
China’s domestic growth witnessed a boom at the end of the 20th century, and the “demand for natural resources and job creation forced China to look for markets” in Africa, which has “abundance of commodities and need for infrastructure development.”
“In 1980, the total China-Africa trade volume was US$1 billion. In 1999, it was US$6.5 billion and in 2000, US$10 billion. By 2005, the total China-Africa trade had reached US$39.7 billion before it jumped to US$55 billion in 2006, making China the second largest trading partner of Africa after the United States, which had trade worth US$91 billion with African nations. The PRC also passed the traditional African economic partner and former colonial power France, which had trade worth of US$47 billion.”
In October 2000, “the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established as an official forum to strengthen the relationship” between china and Africa.
In 2008, China reported $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, “the largest stockpile of foreign exchange in the world.” This was at the time when America, Europe, Africa and many other countries were battling with recession.
In 2009, China surpassed the US to become Africa’s largest trading partner. “In 2010, trade between Africa and China was worth US$114 billion and in 2011, US$166.3 billion. In the first 10 months of 2012 it was US$163.9 billion.”
In May 2014, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made a week-long (his first) visit to Africa to reassure African leaders of China’s true friendship. In August of that year, President Obama convened the first US – African summit in Washington where he “announced $33bn in new commitments to invest in Africa…. US officials used the second day of the summit, which was focused on trade, to state repeatedly that they foresee a bright future for Africa and that the US is key to unlocking it.”
In December 2015, South Africa hosted the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) where the Chinese president, Xi Jinping made “pledge of investment totalling $60 billion.”
In 2016, Americans elected a new President, Donald Trump whose slogan was “America First”. It was obvious, America was losing the struggle for the soul of Africa when in January 2017 President Trump during his inaugural speech announced the “America First” policy. Also in September 2017, African leaders at the Working Lunch in New York did not look pleased at President Trump’s remark.
The trade war between the United States and China became more obvious from January 2018 when President Trump announced steep tariffs on import goods from China, and China retaliated in April “and by July the two countries were engaged in a full-blown trade war.”
Between July and August 2018, barely weeks to the 2018 edition of the FOCAC in Beijing, the three leading European economy began the tour of African countries to re-establish their commitment to the development of Africa: French President Emmanuel Macron in July, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May in August.
In September 2018, “close to 50 African presidents and heads of government attended a 2-day summit on Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, where “China’s President Xi Jinping offered them $60bn in new financing deals.”
The Chinese were all over the nations of Africa involving in massive infrastructural projects, except Swaziland that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
In 2019, the Trump administration launched “Prosper Africa… to ramp up trade and investment between the United States and African countries.” The launch was due to concerns about the growing influence of China and Russia in Africa and the eroding ground in African market. Prosper Africa has been slow to materialize and President Trump is yet to visit Africa.
THE 5G SAGA
“In April 2008, NASA partnered with Geoff Brown and Machine-to-Machine Intelligence (M2Mi) Corp to develop 5G communications technology.”
In August 2012, New York University founded NYU WIRELESS, a multi-disciplinary academic research centre that has conducted pioneering work in 5G wireless communications.
“On 6 November 2013, Huawei announced plans to invest a minimum of $600 million into R&D for next generation 5G networks capable of speeds 100 times faster than modern LTE networks.”
China superseded America in late 2018, when Huawei invented the 5G cellular data Mobile technology. 5G was a successor to the America 4G technology.
In February, 2018, FBI Director Chris Wray had warned against buying Huawei and ZTE phones and Pentagon banned their sales at US military bases. In June,
“A report reveals that Facebook gave Huawei special access to user data… and Congress calls out Google over its ties with Huawei.”
The US in January 2019 took legal actions against Huawei when it slammed the company “with 23 indictments for alleged trade secret theft and fraud.” In February 2019, “US State Department discourages European countries from using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollouts…” and in May 2019 banned “Huawei with a national security order” because the CIA report of April 2019 accused Huawei of being funded by Chinese state security. South Korea and the United States of America were the first countries to adopt 5G, in April 2019.
“In May 2019, Huawei was included in the US entity list resulting in bans from leading US companies such as Google, Intel, and Qualcomm. That meant the company can’t use products such as Qualcomm’s chips or Google’s services including Android for its upcoming products.”
“In July 2019, the Trump administration banned US companies from doing any trading with Huawei after it accused the Chinese giant of espionage and IP (intellectual property) theft. The ban centred on any technology related to 5G technology, and continued to pressure allies including the UK to block Huawei from their 5G network.”
Russian, UK, Germany and other countries in spite of the ban and warning from the U.S. went ahead and adopted the 5G technology. The Microsoft President, Brad Smith in September, 2019 called on the US to end the “ban on it supplying Huawei with Windows software for the Chinese company’s computers.”
In Nigeria, the NCC allocated a trial spectrum to MTN Nigeria to conduct a 5G network trial first in Abuja, Lagos and Calabar. The testing commenced in November, 2019 and the demo centres were expected to run for 3 months.
THE CORONAVIRUS CONNECTION
Dr Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University warned that “Putting in tens of millions of 5G antennae without a single biological test of safety has got to be about the stupidest idea anyone has had in the history of the world.” He believes that “the increased number of phased arrays, the high energy pulses which can easily penetrate the human body, and the bulk of antennae required to operate the network as potential causes for concern.”
2019 was the Chinese 70th anniversary and also the City of Wuhan, Hubei Province, was preparing to host the 7th Military World Games. Wuhan became fully 5G, with the installation of 10,000 of 5G antennas across the city, and “probably one of the most 5G-electro-polluted cities on the planet.”
The Military World Games held from October 18–27, 2019 and the Chinese displayed in use, the first 5G powered 8K TV and VR system.
109 countries, including the USA participated in the game. China topped the medal table with 133 golds and the United States of America were placed a distant 35th with no gold.
Shortly after the games, an outbreak of disease began in Wuhan. According to the Wall Street Journal, the first known case of the virus was reported on December 10, 2019; Wei Guixian, a seafood merchant at the Seafood Wholesale Market in Hua’nan, 44 days after the Wuhan Military Games ended. Dr Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor blew the whistle and “posted in a WeChat forum on December 30, 2019 that 7 confirmed cases of SARS were reported from Huanan Seafood Market.” But he was censored by the Chinese government for “making false comments on the Internet.” On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in China received a report that “a pneumonia of unknown cause” was detected in Wuhan and named the new coronavirus disease on 11 February, 2020 as COVID – 19.
Zhao Lijian, Chinese government spokesman, pointed accusing fingers at the American athletes (CIA) at the game. “Some articles on popular sites in China accused American athletes participating in the Wuhan Military World Games to have deployed the virus. They claim the inattentive attitude and disproportionately below average results of American athletes in the game indicate they might have been in for other purposes and they might actually be bio-warfare operatives, and that their place of residence during their stay in Wuhan was also close to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the first known cluster of cases occurred.”
The American government denied the accusation and “laid blame firmly at China’s feet.”
The Chinese reported that the virus is not capable of human-to-human transmission and people were still moving unrestricted, in and out of Wuhan. The world was handicapped as it watched the novel diseases plagued the city of Wuhan with devastating fatality until the government in China lockdown the city. But it was too late: asymptomatic patients who travelled out of Wuhan carried the virus to other cities within and out of china.
In early February 2020, passengers on cruise ships tested positive to coronavirus and countries prevented many cruise ships from docking. There were theories suggesting that “Diamond Princess Cruise ship whose passengers had to be quarantined was affected by the virus because it used 5G technology for its connectivity.” Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a leading technology convergence for cruise ship connectivity said that “Maritime cruises have yet to implement 5G technology.”
By 11 March, 2020, the cases of COVID – 19 has risen to 118,000 in 114 countries with 4,291 fatalities. Number of cases in South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, USA and UK rose steadily and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID – 19 a pandemic.
The cure for COVID – 19 remained unknown and the safest prevention presently is self-containment. Many nations closed their entry points and announced lockdown while research to discover the cure has commenced.
THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION
In February 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the donation of $100 million toward the coronavirus relief to “help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics…”
On Friday March 13, 2020, Bill Gates announced that he was stepping down “from both the boards of the public boards on which I serve -Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities,” at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation has “such deep expertise in infectious diseases” and has invested $10 billion in GAVI, Global Fund and Global Polio Eradication Initiative; organizations saddled with vaccine development and making them available to developing countries cost free.
“By the late 1990s, the progress of international immunisation programmes was stalling. Nearly 30 million children in developing countries were not fully immunised against deadly diseases, and many others went without any immunisation at all.” The developing countries were clearly in a position that they could not afford the available powerful new vaccines. In 1999, the Foundation made a five-year pledge of US$ 750 million that “provided the seed money to launch GAVI.”
In 2000, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) was founded “to encourage manufacturers to lower vaccine prices for the poorest countries in return for long-term, high-volume and predictable demand from those countries.” The founding partners; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank hold permanent seats on GAVI Governing Board of 28 members Chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian. GAVI is present in 73 countries and has immunised 760 million children in developing countries against deadly infectious diseases, including Polio.
Bill Gates said that vaccines “is the only thing that will allow us to return to normal” and he is funding “top seven vaccine candidates and building manufacturing capacity for them” simultaneously, to save time.
While the world awaits the cure for coronavirus, the figures of infected persons and fatality has risen above 1,700, 000 and 97,000 respectively. USA, Italy, Spain, France and UK leads in infectious and fatality figures and their economy is fast drifting towards recession.
The US and its European ally lockdown all economic activities to curb the spread of the pandemic, while the Chinese authorities have reopened Wuhan for economic activities and China is on a philanthropic international mission with medical supplies and personnel to help other nations combat the “Wuhan pneumonia.”
While the research to invent a vaccine to cure coronavirus has commenced, the link between coronavirus and 5G is yet to be ascertained.
The writer, Jackson Okpale holds a master’s degree in architecture from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; he is an author and an independent researcher. He lives in Abuja and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org