James Blake – I’ll Come Too Lyrics

I’m gonna say what I need
If it’s the last thing I do
I do, I do, I do
I knew that kind of mood
I’ve thrown my hat in the ring
I’ve got nothing to loose
With you, with you, with you
I knew that kind of mood

I’ll go under your wing
I’ll slow write in between the
Cracks between you and him
I don’t wanna go home
Shall we drive from zone to zone
I wouldn’t do this on my own
But I’m not on my own tonight

Oh, you’re going to New York?
I’m going there
Why don’t I come with you
Oh, you’ve changed to L.A.?
I’m going there, I can go there too

I’m gonna say what I need
If it’s the last thing I do
I do, I do, I do
I knew that kind of mood
I’ve thrown my hat in the ring
I’ve got nothing to loose
With you, with you, with you
I knew that kind of mood

I’ll go under your wing
I’ll slow write in between the
Cracks between you and him
I don’t wanna go home
Shall we drive from zone to zone
I wouldn’t do this on my own
But I’m not on my own tonight

Oh, you’re going to the brink?
I’m going there
Why don’t I come with you
You don’t care what they think
I’m getting there, I can get there too

I’m gonna say what I need
If it’s the last thing I do
I do, I do, I do
I knew that kind of mood
I’ve thrown my hat in the ring
I’ve got nothing to loose
With you, with you, with you
I knew that kind of mood

I’ll go under your wing
I’ll slow write in between the
Cracks between you and him
I don’t wanna go home
Shall we drive from zone to zone
I wouldn’t do this on my own
But I’m not on my own tonight

Currents – Never There Lyrics

I thought of reaching out, we could take this slow
Hesitation turned to habit, never made the call
No branch to break my fall
I’d have so much to tell you, but I

Drink till I can’t blink
And I fill my brain with holes
My voice is worse for wear
Because I lost my self control
I’ve lost my hope

Now I don’t want to say I’m scared
Cause I don’t want you to think
That this life I slave away for

Is what brings an end to me

But now I’m walking through my life with a clenched up fist
Holding back the tears and feelings that I never spent
I try to find a purpose or a path to set
But I’ve only found the void and so I

Drink till I can’t blink
And I fill my brain with holes
Because the place that I feel safest
It was never there
Never there at all

Shacke One – Akkordmollenkommando Lyrics (feat. Tiger104er)

[Intro: Tiger und Shacke One]
So, jetzt gleich am Anfang? – Ja, genau jetzt
Nimmt das schon auf, oder was?
Tiger, was los? Wie isses? Schwör, was soll sein, alter? Mir geht gut, alter. Ich gönn mir mal hier ‘ne Pilsette
Kannst dich nicht beklagen meinste? -Nö, auf keinsten, alter
War doch ‘n guter Tag, oder? – Auf jeden Fall, alter
Wollen wir einen rappen? Über unseren Kiez und so? Würd ich sagen, alter
Weil is ja immer voll schön hier und so
Richtig, alter, Sportler ist auch mit am Start, alter
Boar, guck mal, alter, Toni gibt erstmal ‘n bisschen Schnabuletti
Yeeeeeah
Stößchen, Stößchen, Jungs! – Prösterchen!
Den nehm icke, hahaha
Wie sieht’s aus, willste loslegen?
Ja, ja, auf jeden Fall, alter!
Ich setz dann nach, oder was? – Absolut, alter
Ok, Tiger, dann gönn dir, gönn dir – OK

[Verse 1: Tiger]
Im Kampf gegens verdursten kommt die dreifache Verstärkung
Tiger, Sportler, Shacke, Trinkerteam mit Nordberliner Herkunft
Ich begrüße meine Jungs, ja jetzt wird Molle bestellt
Meine Crew hängt am Corner, deine am Volleyballfeld
Von Neumarkt bis Schönhauser, Eberswalder bis Gesundi
Rosenthaler, Ostkreuz, Rosa-Luxemburg bis Humbi
Früher hing in mei’m Bezirk an jeder Ecke Punkers ab
Heute Dullis mit ‘ner Bio-Zische und Undercut
Bevor ich mich verbrüder mit dei’m Oberholzer Barverein
Knall ich mir mit Backe von mei’m letzten Geld Pilsator rein

Prost, Dicker! Tradition, die schmeckt
‘n Kindl und ‘ne Schulle, aber bitte kein Beck’s
Cornercheck, Nettelbeck, ich und Shacke sind am Stizzard
Kick, was ich mithab: ‘N Doppelkorn zum Mittag
Während du beim Bäcker Pläne schmiedest, wie man dich heut reinlässt
Sitz ick am Späti und kipp Vodka in die Weiße

[Verse 2: Shacke One]
Ich wach auf, denn die Morgenlatte fällt mir ins Gesicht
Warum lässt er mich nie ausschlafen, dieser Wicht?
Ich roll die Schlange grad ein, da läutet’s an der Forte
Ich schau durch den Spion und seh ‘ne endheiße Torte
Es ist meine Freundin
Sie ist ziemlich sonnig drauf, denn eigentlich sollt ich aufräumen
Ein kurzer Stick-Reset als Wiedergutmachung, Schatz
Ich muss schnell runter, denn die Crew wartet am Platz
[?] auf die Kralle, die Mannschaft ist versammelt
Nordachses Mutterschiff ist Gesundbrunn gelandet
Dicker, wir reden Ossislang
Du Klappstuhl wirst niemals mit unserer Posse häng
W-E-Doppel-D-I-N zum G
65 ist die Hood, für die ich grade steh
Ich häng am Corner mit Toni und Achim
Tiger und Sportler und mach ‘n guten Eindruck
Ich gönn mir einen Schluck
Und schon weiß ich, dass ich später noch in Magendoktor reinguck
Ich liebe mein Kiez über alles
TBR, OBS, crosst mal nicht, sonst knallt es

[Outro]
Ah, erstmal ein Saufen, dicker

Gepe – Calle Cima Lyrics

[Letra ”Calle Cima”]

[Verso 1]
Cada vez que pienso en ti
Tu nombre se escribe en mi piel
Una foto en la pared
Se nos viene encima

[Pre Coro]
Cada paso, cada emoción
Iba a todas contigo
Una forma de continuar
Me despido de ti

[Coro]
Quiero encontrar ese lugar, donde conectamos tan bien
Quiero encontrar ese lugar

[Verso 3]
Nos comimos una explosión
De jugadas y mala fe
Té de hierbas, bomba de sal
Me despido de ti

[Coro]
Quiero encontrar ese lugar, donde conectamos tan bien
Quiero encontrar ese lugar
Quiero encontrar ese lugar, donde conectábamos bien

Me saco un plan pa’ más de 10
Difícil darle otra vez
Esa emoción, vamos pa’ más
Todo vale
Hoy está aquí, igual que ayer
No sé por dónde empezar
Una de aquí, otra de allá
Todo vale

[Pre Coro]
Cada vez que pienso en ti
Tu nombre se escribe en mi piel
Una foto en la pared

[Coro]
Quiero encontrar ese lugar, donde conectamos tan bien
Quiero encontrar ese lugar
Quiero encontrar ese lugar, donde conectábamos bien

[Outro]
Cada signo bajo el mismo techo
Cada estrella bajo el mismo cielo será
Cada uno es el mismo que empieza y se va

Tiny Ruins – How Much Lyrics

[Verse 1]
On a lilo, reading your letter
I miss you darling, I hope you’re better
It’s such a drag to be apart
Right at the start of it

Tongue in tightropes, tummy a-flutter
It’s not my passion, just my bread and butter
Say you’ll find your way, follow your heart
Think you don’t have a chance at it

[Chorus 1]
How much would you be willing to give?
How much do you take from all of this?
How much before you’re strung out?

[Verse 2]
You’re a silo, long gone of grains
On the edge of the city in the shadow of the cranes

I want to fill you to the top
And that’s not the half of it

Breaking down in the supermarket
Something for my toothache, is it getting dark yet?
My thoughts are dwelling on the snarks
You’ve just got to laugh at it

[Chorus 2]
How much would you be willing to give?
How much do you take from all of this?
How much

[Bridge]
Your planet’s reeling
Your footprints on the floor
Can’t help the feeling
Of wanting nothing more

[Instrumental Break Outro]

Jeans – Ammore! Lyrics

Serán tus ojos que me dan ammore
Descargas de electricidad ammore
Será que en plena obscuridad
Tu risa enciende toda la ciudad

Será que tengo el corazón ammore
Como un volcán en erupción ammore
Será que tu me haces volar
Y desafiar la ley de gravedad
Giro la realidad
Se fue la soledad
Porque llegaste a mi

Tu amor mi única verdad
Mi paz, mi luz, mi tempestad
Eres oxígeno vital
Tu amor mi única verdad
Mi paz, mi luz, mi tempestad
Eres oxígeno vital

Será tu forma de bailar ammore
Tu eres mi azúcar y mi sal ammore

Tu encanto sobrenatural
O que en tu boca escondes un imán

Será que tengo el corazón ammore
Como un volcán en erupción ammore
Será que tu me haces volar
Y desafiar la ley de gravedad
Giro la realidad
Se fue la soledad
Por que llegaste a mi

Tu amor mi única verdad
Mi paz, mi luz, mi tempestad
Eres oxígeno vital (x4)

Giro la realidad
Se fue la soledad
Por que llegaste a mi

Tu amor mi única verdad
Mi paz, mi luz, mi tempestad
Eres oxígeno vital (x4)

Love is well, love is well..

Alex Cuba – Piedad De Mi Lyrics

[Letra de “Piedad de Mí”]

[Verso 1]
A veces se me olvida que la estoy mirando
Y dejo que se ría si me ve soñando
Idealizando su preciosidad

Lo mismo pasa un lunes que pasa un domingo
Me embriaga su dulzura y así no distingo
Lo que es mentira de lo que es verdad
Por más que intento no puedo alcanzar
En su presencia un paso dar

[Coro]
Tú eres el sol, la llave
De mi vida la clave
Quién yo nombro en mis sueños
Dueña de mis sentimientos
Tú lo sabes, que en mi pecho no cabe
Tanto amor que yo siento
Te lo pido, por favor, tú
Ten piedad de mí
Piedad de mí

[Verso 2]
Sentado en una esquina vi pasar el tiempo
Ahogado en la rutina de mi sufrimiento
Se me hizo lento, decidí gritar
Gritarle a la ironía de mi sufrimiento
Al verme en una vida que yo no recuerdo

En que momento me atreví a empezar
Por más que intento no puedo alcanzar
En su presencia un paso dar

[Coro]
Tú eres el sol, la llave
De mi vida la clave
Quién yo nombro en mis sueños
Dueña de mis sentimientos
Tú lo sabes, que en mi pecho no cabe
Tanto amor que yo siento
Te lo pido, por favor, tú
Ten piedad de mí

[Puente]
Piedad de mí
Piedad de mí
Piedad de mí

[Coro]
Tú eres el sol, la llave
De mi vida la clave
Quién yo nombro en mis sueños
Dueña de mis sentimientos
Tú lo sabes, que en mi pecho no cabe
Tanto amor que yo siento
Te lo pido, por favor, tú
Ten piedad de mí
Piedad de mí
Piedad de mí
Piedad de mí

[Final]
A veces se me olvida que la estoy mirando

Tedua – La Story Infinita Lyrics (feat. Massimo Pericolo)

[Tedua:]
Vita Vera Mixtape
Aspettando la Divina Commedia, 20-20
Sick Luke, Sick Luke
Vado al massimo
Chris Nolan (Yo, Tedua)

Erano gli anni ’10, yo (Uoh), stavo giù in strada coi fratelli (Ehi)
Disegnando sogni con i pastelli (Ehi) del mio passato fatto a frammenti
Come le madonne dei mendicanti sui marciapiedi e
Senza l’onere di fare contanti col rap, ma già sapevi (Tedua)
Andava stretta la provincia (Ah), in vetta alla classifica dei miei problemi
Senza gratifica alla verifica di ieri
Che a scuola entravi fatto o non entravi affatto, cazzo abbiamo fatto?
La vita che ho affrontato anestetizzando i pensieri (Uoh)
Anzi, volevamo azzerare i problemi ed azzardare a spacciare (Eh, pah)
Per fare conti a sei zeri, ma con i conti grossi
O corrompi i poliziotti o pesti i piedi a mafiosi in vetta agli schemi (Ehi)
Noi scrittori non siamo certo idonei a certi temi (Lo sai)
Ho creduto a mesi alterni alle passioni (Uoh), a metà atterri, a metà voli
L’età afferra dei pattoni che li prendi e voli (Tu-bam)
Ed una sberla se ti centra, insegna, è degna di valori
Dà insegnamenti, lo schiaffo morale pesta i sentimenti
Me l’ha detto Sonny quando per darseli
Si dava gli appuntamenti e poi forse è vero
Guardando il cielo se te ne arriva uno da dietro
Più che figli delle stelle, siamo figli delle sberle anche noi

Sai, questa è la mia vita e non di un altro (No)
Tutta la fatica che ora ho fatto (Yeah)
Spero sia servita
So che non è finita

Guai se il presente poi giudica il passato (Uh-uh)
Perderà il futuro lungo il tracciato
Io non mi volto indietro
Ma non scordo chi ero

[Massimo Pericolo:]
Sulla vita tu mi chiedi consigli
Ma io non ho molto da dirti
Per ciò che ti toglie, c’ha qualcosa da offrirti
Anche quando piove e non ci sono gli sbirri (Rrah)

Vengo dalla strada, dal basso di una cassa
Se il crimine non paga, lo Stato non incassa
E anche se ho detto: "Basta" tutto il resto resta uguale (Tony)
Sono passati gli anni, ma non è passato il male
Mi son fatto il culo per diventare un b-boy
Quando non sei nessuno, puoi diventare chi vuoi
Ho scelto il mio futuro e sto meglio da lì in poi
Sapete meglio di me che lo faccio meglio di voi
Ti spiego come vivo, diretto sull’arrivo (Ah)
Io voglio solo scrivere di ciò che vivo e vivere di ciò che scrivo
È tutto ciò per cui respiro, e ognuno c’ha il suo Dio
Perché ognuno ha la sua croce, questo è il mio
E penso a quanto era diverso (Sì)
Eravamo in 4 al parchetto, ora in 4.000 al concerto
E non puoi certo far la fine degli altri e poi fermarti più avanti
A fare il conto dei danni, no, no

[Tedua:]
Sai, questa è la mia vita e non di un altro (No)
Tutta la fatica che ora ho fatto (Yeah)
Spero sia servita
So che non è finita
Guai se il presente poi giudica il passato (Uh-uh)
Perderà il futuro lungo il tracciato
Io non mi volto indietro
Ma non scordo chi ero

Zaz – Comme Ci, Comme Ca Lyrics

On veut faire de moi c’que j’suis pas
Mais je poursuis ma route j’me perdrai pas
C’est comme ça
Vouloir à tout prix me changer
Et au fil du temps m’ôter ma liberté
Hereusement, j’ai pu faire autrement
Je choisis d’être moi tout simplement

Je suis comme ci
Et ça me va
Vous ne me changerez pas
Je suis comme ça
Et c’est tant pis
Je vis sans vis-à-vis
Comme ci comme ça
Sans interdit
On ne m’empêchera pas
De suivre mon chemin
Et de croire en mes mains

Ecoute, écoute-la cette petite voix
Ecoute-la bien, elle guide tes pas
Avec elle tu peux échapper
Aux rêves des autres qu’on voudrait t’imposer
Ces mots là ne mentent pas
C’est ton âme qui chante ta mélodie à toi

Je suis comme ci

Et ça me va
Vous ne me changerez pas
Je suis comme ça
Et c’est tant pis
Je vis sans vis-à-vis
Comme ci comme ça
Sans interdit
On ne m’empêchera pas
De suivre mon chemin
Et de croire en mes mains

Si c’est ça, c’est assez, c’est ainsi
C’est comme ci comme ça
Ca se sait, ça c’est sûr, on sait ça
C’est comme ça comme ci

Je suis comme ci
Et ça me va
Vous ne me changerez pas
Je suis comme ça
Et c’est ainsi
Je vis sans vis-à-vis
Comme ci comme ça
Sans peur de vos lois
On ne m’empêchera pas
De suivre mon chemin
Créer ce qui me fait du bien

Si c’est ça, c’est assez, c’est ainsi
C’est comme ci comme ça

Algora – Techno Triste Lyrics

[Estrofa 1]
Cae el ojo otra vez y las estrellas están rotas
Las estrellas arden, tengo sus esquinas clavadas en mis pies
De caminar toda la noche, de andar despierto hasta tan tarde

[Estribillo]
Mamá es tan impaciente, mamá es tan impaciente
A su hijo no le gustan las mujeres
Y le sorprende saltando en su habitación
Con los ojos grises de andar despierto hasta tan tarde

[Estrofa 2]
Cae el ojo, pero amanece
La madrugada es el único sitio donde quiero quedarme
La madrugada es el único lugar donde no hay nadie
La madrugada es el único lugar, y ahora hay que levantarse

[Estribillo]
Mamá es tan impaciente, mamá es tan impaciente
A su hijo no le gustan las mujeres
Y le sorprende bailando techno triste

Con los ojos grises de andar despierto hasta tan tarde

[Puente]
Na, na, na, na, na, na
Na, na, na, na, na, na
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, oh
Na, na, na, na, na, na
Na, na, na, na, na, na
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, oh

[Estribillo]
Mamá es tan impaciente, mamá es tan impaciente
A su hijo no le gustan las mujeres
Y le sorprende bailando techno triste
Con los ojos grises de andar despierto hasta tan tarde
Mamá es tan impaciente, mamá es tan impaciente
A su hijo no le gustan las mujeres
Y le sorprende bailando techno triste
Con los ojos grises de andar despierto hasta tan tarde

Froth – New Machine Lyrics

There’s a new machine
And there’s nobody else beside me
So I keep it around
What was I to do
When I’m sitting alone
I can feel myself take over
This is not how i feel this is not who I am
With my new machine
I don’t want anyone to watch me
With a body of steel that you’ll will never see

If I’m asleep alone
Thoughts about the girl don’t tempt me
Because the feelings real with the new machine
Cause I’m always thinking about her
And I’m always thinking of you
And never want for her to go away

Jess Williamson – Medicine Wheel Lyrics

Been draped over dozens of faces
Been cut, dried, bleached, and braided
One part dead, one part haunted
Get up close and you see the ghosts
A little squint, now skeletons, now skeletons

Shamans drink the salt water
State your case, all stand and rotate
State your case, stand and rotate

Ain’t it just like me to talk so ugly?
Wash my mouth or just watch me now

It bubbles up and gargles down to a stomach pit
And my words, my words, they drown
And go on and out

Can’t count the pretty little ghosts in you
Or all the color I put you through
Grow longer, longer, longer, long
Lash my back, spur me on
Longer, longer, longer, long
Weighs my neck
Keeps me young young young young

Scatman John – Scat Me If You Can Lyrics

[JOHN:] Scat me if you can
Scat me if you can

[JOHN & GIRLS:] Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, I’m the only Scatman
Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, ’cause I’m skee ap an doo dah

[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] Diddle diddle dumpling my son John
[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] He went to bed with his trousers on
[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] A one shoe off and one shoe on
Hey man, my name is Scatman John

[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] Mary had a little lamb
[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] She got it one day singin’ in my band
[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] Hey diddle diddle and the cat had a fiddle
Strange things can happen if you scat me a little

Scat me if you can
Scat me if you can
Scat me!

[Scatting by Scatman John]

[JOHN & GIRLS:] Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, I’m the only Scatman
Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can

Scat me if you need me, cause I’m skee ap an doo dah

Scat me if you can
Scat me if you can
Scat me!

[Scatting by Scatman John]

[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] Diddle diddle dumpling my son John
[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] He went to bed with his trousers on
[Scatting by Girls]
[JOHN:] A one shoe off and one shoe on
Diddle diddle dumpling, my name is Scatman John

[JOHN & GIRLS:] Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, I’m the only Scatman
Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, cause I’m skee ap an doo dah
[x2]

[JOHN:] Scat me if you can… [x3]

[JOHN & GIRLS:] Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, I’m the only Scatman
Scat me if you want me, you can catch me if you can
Scat me if you need me, cause I’m skee ap an doo dah
[x2]

[JOHN:] Scat me if you can
(if you can…)

Machine Girl – Devil Speak Lyrics

I light my wick in bondage
Laying in the pit I stay haunted
The perfect fix: the essence
Feel wax drip, momentary heaven

I’m slipping through the cracks
So far down the rabbit hole
Another lantern comes crashing down

Strike a match
Cover me with kerosene
Playing with fire
I become the effigy

Suspended animation
Secret acts of desecration
Recursive immolation

Autoerotic decapitation

Scratching my skin until I bleed
A tormenting itch that never leaves
Burn the temple down and I’ll be free

Strike a match
Cover me with kerosene
Playing with fire
I become the effigy

I can hear the devil speak
Why don’t you run away with me (x10)

I can hear the devil speak

Simi – Joromi Lyrics

[Verse]
Joromi Joromi
I want you to love me
Joromi baby
Joromi Joro
Kiode? Kilode o?
Why you no dey call me
Kilode baby?
Kilode Joro

I dey give you signal (joromi)
Why you no dey see me ah (joromi)
I give you green light tire (joromi Joro)
Omo kilon bubble o (Joromi)
Make you no dey fumble o (Joromi)
I go shoot my shot e o Joro

[Hook]
So Joro baby take my number
(Take my number)
You know you can call me later
(Call me later)
Me I want to be you lover
(Be your lover)
On baby, call me later
(Call me later)

[Verse 2]
Faloabi bosi bi o
Talk to your friend o
Joromi baby o (joromi Joro)
Shebi iwo lo so fun mi
You talk sey he like me
Ah abi iro lo n pa gan (Kilode Joro)

I dey give you signal (joromi)
Shey you no dey see me ah (joromi)
I give you green light tire (joromi Joro)
Omo kilon bubble o (joromi)

Ko ma lo fumble o (joro mi)
I go shoot my shot e o Joro

[Hook]
So Joro baby take my number
(Take my number)
You know you can call me later
(Call me later)
Me I want to be your lover
(Be your lover)
Oh baby call me later
(Call me later)

Oh baby no be crime
Make pesin love you aye
Love you baby aye
Yes I love you baby oh
Oh baby tell my why
(Tell me why)
You dey take your time
Just call be baby

Joro baby take my number o
(Take my number)
Maybe you can call me later
(Call me later)
Me I want to be your lover
(Be your lover)
Oh baby call me later
(Call me later)

Baby mi o
Ki lon shele gangan?
(Take my number)
I dey wait for you since early mon mon
(Call me later)
Me I want to be your lover
(Be your lover)
Oh baby call me later
(Call me later)

World’s End Press – Tall Stories, Pt. 2 Lyrics

[Chorus]
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories never told

[Verse]
Glass, steel, hollow brass
To the concrete underpass
Glass, steel, hollow brass
To the concrete underpass
Glass, steel, hollow brass
To the concrete underpass
Glass, steel, hollow brass
Tall stories

[Chorus]
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories never told

[Instrumental Break]

[Chorus]
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories

[Outro]
Tall stories
Tall stories
Tall stories

Alex Cuba – Directo Lyrics

[Letra de “Directo”]

[Coro]
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada
Pero va directo
A tu corazón
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues
Vengas a mis brazos
Herida de amor

[Verso]
Y cuento las palabras con que esta canción
Deja volar mi voz
Buscando tu atención
Son cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve y diez
Son muchas ya me cansé
Contar mi desamor

[Coro]
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada
Pero va directo
A tu corazón
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues
Vengas a mis brazos
Herida de amor
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada
Pero va directo
A tu corazón
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues
Vengas a mis brazos
Herida de amor

[Verso]
Y cuento las palabras con que esta canción
Deja volar mi voz
Buscando tu atención
Son cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve y diez
Son muchas ya me cansé
Contar mi desamor

[Coro]

Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada (Nada)
Pero va directo (Directo)
A tu corazón
(A tu corazón bum bum disparo yo)
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues (Entrégate mujer)
Vengas a mis brazos (Sí)
Herida de amor
(Como una palomita blanca que cayó)
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada (No dice nada, nada)
Pero va directo (No, no, no, no)
A tu corazón (¡Guitarra!)
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues
Vengas a mis brazos
Herida de amor
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada
Pero va directo
A tu corazón
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues
Vengas a mis brazos
Herida de amor
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada
Pero va directo
A tu corazón
Te mando una razón
Para que te entregues
Vengas a mis brazos
Herida de amor
Te mando esta canción
Que no dice nada
Pero va directo
A tu corazón…

Tedua – Clone Lyrics

T-E-D, c’è così caldo

Quando entri nel mio barrio
La catena tua è un bersaglio
Te la tiran come quella del bagno
Nella tela del ragno
Quella merda è vera, ne parlo
Se c’è la sirena, ghepardo
Brutta cera, a cena c’era una busta piena
Intera, Tedua non ci butterà il naso
In strada come i deca staccati a morsi
Prega, attaccati ai bordi
Adolescenza e metamorfosi
In cella o metà morti
Almeno tu risparmiami le critiche
Sul beat commetto un crimine
Forse istigo le masse, ma non incito a delinquere
Vi è lecito decidere
Avrei voluto fare l’attore
Non mi illudo, ma altrove
Sarei potuto diventare un cantante migliore
Quante cose per ore
Ci potremmo elencare? Sono tutte cazzate
Innanzitutto devo tutto a mia madre
Per stare al mondo, anche se al mondo non ci so stare

Di Tedua non puoi farne un clone
Siamo teppisti con vizi di droghe
Senza capirci, mi dici: "Ma come?"
Roccia, ti giuro, sei proprio un fattone
Ryan, che pensi, che cambia fazione?
Ma se fumo ancora, poi cambio colore
In tutta la vita non tollera
A dura prova mettendo il polmone
In giro che sono le 6
Ancora che parli, ma chi cazzo sei?
Se quello ha problemi coi miei
Veniamo a pescarti, frè, come Sampei (Pah)
Non perdo il mio tempo, sì, e basta uno squillo, bro
Certi problemi li elimino
Tra tutti i falsi che eviterò
Non mi è rimasto un livido

Detto ciò, il concetto chiave è non lamentarsi
Né accontentarsi del proprio tozzo di pane

Lo vuoi più grosso? Vai, prendilo, rendilo reale
Senza piagnucolare sui "se" e sui "ma"
O perché il tuo star parte indietro da una classe sociale
Chi sta più in là si starà chiedendo cosa si è perso uguale
È questione di punti di vista
Lei, per esempio, da quando l’ho vista mi manda in fissa
E la cerco come punti di riferimento
Si fida, non si sfila
Tipo i punti al ginocchio che mi hanno messo
Da bimbo alla partita correndo
Caduto sui sassi
Non giocavo nei campi affittati in sintetico
A una certa ho preso piede, in contropiede al sintetico
E poi il sopravvento
A me per fortuna ha fatto solo il solletico
Dico rispetto ad amici che c’hanno messo ogni sforzo
Per rincorrere un vuoto dentro
Da compensare, ma per quale compenso
Se non scompenso ormonale?

Di Tedua non puoi farne un clone
Siamo teppisti con vizi di droghe
Senza capirci, mi dici: "Ma come?"
Roccia, ti giuro, sei proprio un fattone
Ryan, che pensi, che cambia fazione?
Ma se fumo ancora, poi cambio colore
In tutta la vita non tollera
A dura prova mettendo il polmone
In giro che sono le 6
Ancora che parli, ma chi cazzo sei?
Se quello ha problemi coi miei
Veniamo a pescarti, frè, come Sampei (Pah)
Non perdo il mio tempo, sì, e basta uno squillo, bro
Certi problemi li elimino
Tra tutti i falsi che eviterò
Non mi è rimasto un livido

A New Law Will End Gender Recognition. Now Trans People Are Speaking Out.

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April 18, 2020, 12:33 GMT

Patrick Strudwick

BuzzFeed UK LGBT Editor

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Courtesy Emma Molnar

Emma Molnar

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“I’m feeling like I did before I transitioned,” says Adel Onodi. “My mental life is really bad right now.” She sounds flatter and more disconnected with each sentence. “I’m thinking I will kill myself.”

Onodi, a 24-year-old actor, is one of many. As the coronavirus pandemic engulfs Europe, transgender people in Hungary now face an extra threat to their safety: a new law that will end gender recognition.

This is not a legal technicality. It means passports and ID cards — which citizens must carry at all times — will revert to sex at birth. A trans woman who goes to a job interview, or into a bank, or who is stopped by the police, will, when asked for her ID, be immediately outed as transgender. Anti-trans abuse is already common in Hungary, and discrimination is widespread. Onodi has been sexually assaulted in an anti-trans attack in a women’s toilet. She has been assaulted at work. Officials laughed at her when she originally went to change her papers.

At the end of March, as other European nations were shutting down, imposing unprecedented restrictions on movement, Viktor Orban, Hungary’s populist prime minister, seized an opportunity. With a two-thirds majority in parliament for his hard-right Fidesz party, he was able to introduce an emergency powers law, billed as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, which allows him to rule by decree, indefinitely. Absolute authority, without normal scrutiny, is guaranteed.

The next day, when other world leaders were focusing on the pandemic, Orban’s government proposed a further bill that would see passports and ID cards no longer reflect someone’s acquired gender — even if they have previously obtained legal recognition. Under the new law, such documents would stop using the word “nem”, which means sex or gender, and instead “születési nem”: birth sex. This would be based on “primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”, regardless of the impact on trans or intersex people, and would be immutable. In a further insult, Orban announced all this on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Human rights defenders say the anti-trans bill, which is all but certain to become law next month, is part of Orban’s long-running culture war, and that this, combined with the emergency bill, is an opportunistic power grab. He had already been dubbed by critics the “Viktator”. Now, many who spoke to BuzzFeed News use another description, satirically: “king”.

Attacks in the street against trans people are already increasing, says Onodi. “First the Hungarian government targeted [billionaire philanthropist] George Soros and Jewish people. Now we — trans and all LGBT people — are the target.”

Through a series of interviews with BuzzFeed News, Hungarian transgender people and an organisation trying to help reveal what this means; both in the immediate future and in the long-term for minorities in the country.

As the clock counts down until the law is expected to pass, trans people describe too the desperate, often thwarted, attempts to escape.

If you’re someone who is seeing the impact of the coronavirus firsthand, we’d like to hear from you. Reach out to us via one of our tip line channels.

Onodi knows what can happen when your identity is made public. The 24-year-old actor and singer became a cover star of Hungary’s Elle magazine last year; the first trans woman to do so on a women’s publication.

When Onodi picks up the phone to BuzzFeed News, she apologises almost immediately; worried that her English won’t be good enough because she has only been learning for a few months. When she struggles to find the words, she pauses or laughs a little out of awkwardness and frustration.

Zita Laura Szasz

Adel Onodi

“After Elle magazine [came out], I went to a bar,” she says. “Someone recognised me, and when I went to the toilet and he wanted to join [me in there] because he thought I had a dick and he wanted to see it. It was unbelievable. He just opened the door and I couldn’t do anything. I just told him that I won’t show him.” The man did not know that she had already had surgery. Onodi told him she wanted to leave and only managed to escape, “because I am self-confident,” she says. Her ability to fight back has been developed through necessity, however. “People sometimes just try [to take advantage of] me,” she says.

As she moves on quickly to other incidents she says only that the attack in the toilet was traumatising. On another occasion, she attended an audition alongside a male actor playing her boyfriend. He assaulted her at the casting.

“He touched my pussy because he wanted to know, ‘If I have a dick or pussy or what?’”

Other times, she hears women on the street talking about her, wondering aloud if she is a “female or male”. Although post-transition, Onodi says the remains of her Adam’s apple are enough of a giveaway to lead to hostility, without even anyone recognising her from Elle. So often in Hungary she says you can feel what so many LGBTQ people experience: the shimmer of hatred not dramatic enough to report but clear enough in the glares, whispers, or nudges, to suggest a threat, and to form an overarching message: you are not welcome; you are not safe.

Compared to many, Onodi knows she is lucky; she received her new documentation in 2016 and then emigrated to Berlin, where she stages performances about her experiences as a trans woman. “But if I lose my ID or I need another passport, I face the same situation that someone who has not yet transitioned,” she says. Despite everything she did to be recognised as a woman, “they can take it back”.

Elle – Zita Laura Szasz

Depression struck before she transitioned, she says, and returned when the new law was proposed, plunging her back to the fear and hopelessness from which she thought she had escaped. “It’s really fucked up,” she says, and as a result, “my mental life is like before”: thoughts of suicide. She has since been relying on a psychologist to help.

It will take another 6 years before she can apply for German citizenship and if she has her Hungarian passport changed before then, Onodi faces the prospect of applying for German citizenship as a woman but with a male Hungarian passport.

“So I want to search how I can find another citizenship earlier,” she says. But she does not know where to go, and does not even want to visit her country of birth. “When I did, I was not safe. It’s more dangerous now.” When the pandemic erupted, she thought it was the virus and the lockdowns that would change her life, it didn’t occur to her that instead the situation would be used to implement a law to change her life and her community’s for years to come.

Gergely Besenyei / Getty Images

Budapest Pride.

In the historic city of Gyor, in north-west Hungary, the cobbled streets of Renaissance architecture, normally a draw for shoppers and tourists, now stand empty in the lockdown. Emma Molnar, a 24-year-old trans woman who uses YouTube and Instagram (under the name Emma Dandelion) to speak out about her community, has just woken up.

“I just can’t believe that this is going to happen,” says Molnar, about the new law. Her fear is two-fold: the effect it will have and what it says about her government. “That some people have time to think about things like this with the coronavirus. I just don’t understand.”

Except, to Molnar, it fits the wider pattern of Orban’s manoeuvres. Because of the lockdown, street protests are impossible. “They knew this,” she says. “That we won’t be able to demonstrate.” Instead she made a video and uploaded it to YouTube. “I think my only tools are the media. That’s the only way we can fight.” Even this seemingly safe method of exercising free speech is not without punishment.

Courtesy Emma Molnar

Emma Molnar (Dandelion)

“I get horrible messages every day that I should kill myself, and that I’m a freak, I’m a monster, things like that,” says Molnar. “Hungarian people are not tolerant. They hate trans people and they hate the whole LGBT community. The government says bad things about us all the time. So people have the wrong idea about us: stating that we are perverts, paedophiles. They don’t understand who we are.”

Last year, Laszlo Kover, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament said “morally, there is no difference between the behavior of a paedophile” and of those who advocate for same-sex marriage or adoption. The deputy speaker, Istvan Boldog — also an MP for Orban’s Fidesz party — then called for a boycott of Coca-Cola because its new adverts included pro-gay messages. And in November, Hungary withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest, reportedly because of its close association with LGBTQ people. Or as public media sources quoted in index.hu, a Hungarian news site, said, for being “too gay”.

But all who spoke to BuzzFeed News said that the specific focus on trans rights is relatively new, and that it finds fertile ground in a population with less awareness of transgender people than in many western European countries. “Five years ago people didn’t know about trans people in Hungary,” says Molnar. “No one was brave enough to talk about it.”

In 2016, the government fired its first salvo, by temporarily suspending legal gender recognition.

Gender recognition was restored. in early 2018 only to be re-suspended in May that year, sparking numerous lawsuits, with several courts ruling the suspension unlawful.

“So legally speaking, the government was losing,” says Tamas Dombos, a board member of the Hatter Society, the largest LGBTQ human rights organisation in Hungary. “And they could only circumvent these court decisions by passing legislation that bans gender recognition altogether.”

But there was another factor dovetailing into this. “The coronavirus situation,” says Dombos. “They thought that when there’s so much more public discussions about something completely different [the pandemic], and no normal international attention on human rights, they could get it passed unnoticed.”

One of the troubles for Hungarian trans people is that no one can be certain how the law would work. In the first instance, whether it would operate retroactively, so that someone who had already been granted an ID card or passport with their correct gender would have this revoked and changed. Or whether this would happen only when they applied for such documents to be renewed.

“There is no clear text in the law itself,” says Dombos. Lawyers, therefore, disagree upon how it would operate; whether as a piece of procedural law that applies only from enactment, or whether as part of the registry of births, which prevents exceptions. Dombos suspects the government does not wish to create more work for itself and “hunt down” trans people to change their existing passports. “But, unfortunately, who knows?”

Either way, he says, the fear it creates in a fog of uncertainty, is devastating.

“There’s lots of people in my community who are desperate and sad and thinking about ending their life,” says Molnar, the YouTuber. “It’s just horrible. I don’t want to lose good people because of this.” But she understands why.

“How could I live my life like that, with the papers of a man?” she says. Her question is not hypothetical but informed by experience. As a 10-year-old, she knew there was something very different about her, she just did not know what. The other children at school hated that she was extremely feminine, so they beat her. “They bullied me physically and with words. Every day was hell,” she says. “I tried to be grey, to hide and to disappear.”

Courtesy Emma Molnar

Emma Molnar

It did not work. The attacks were so brutal and repetitious that her parents had to remove her from school. She was homeschooled for years. By 16, she was living as a girl and hoping to change her name and her papers, but was told she could not do so legally until she was 18.

“I couldn’t find a job with the looks of a woman and the papers of a man,” she says. “It was impossible.” She only survived, financially and psychologically, because her family supported her.

Even if the government does not revoke her existing ID card and passport, it will only be a matter of time before they need to be renewed. On return, under the new law, only her birth sex would be stated. The prospect now of returning to her pre-transition, pre-legal recognition days, is unbearable.

“I had to wait 18 years to be myself, to start my life,” she says. “I am 24 now, I know how it feels to live like that, not as a human but as someone who has to hide from the world, and I don’t want to go back there.”

The day-to-day implications are far from mundane, yet with all that surrounds this law, also unclear.

“If I go to hospital am I going to be in the men’s section? That’s horrible for me and horrible for the guys there,” she says. “Or, for example, is a [trans] man going to get put in with women? I can’t imagine how patients will react. It’s crazy.”

The discrimination and abuse that would be unleashed by giving all trans people ID cards showing only their sex at birth, is also unthinkable, she says — but a reality that must now be faced. Aside from anti-trans prejudice itself would be a distinct practical problem. If a woman tried to open a bank account with a passport or ID that said male, the initial response would be to “accuse us of having stolen it, or that it’s fake,” says Molnar — and this is partly because of how low the awareness is of trans people, and their legal situation. “They still don’t know this is a thing.”

From there, the trans person presenting their ID would have to try to explain. At this point, many fear mockery, abuse or discrimination would result. The denial of goods or services, as well as access to employment, says Dombos, would be even more widespread. Already, he says, “verbal abuse and discrimination is very common” and “we see a lot of workplace harassment”.

Emma Molnar (Dandelion)

Molnar has felt this too. She used to live in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, where she worked in a tea house. “It was my favourite place,” she says. “And they loved me. I had a good relationship with the boss, they told me I was very positive and kind to customers.” But Molnar moved to London for a while and began posting videos on YouTube, one of which involved her coming out as trans, which received a fair amount of attention back home. When she moved back, she asked for her old job back. “They said that they saw my coming out video and they don’t want to hire me anymore.”

Despite the hostility that looms, Molnar is determined to keep going. “I won’t end my life,” she says. “I’m transgender so that means that I am a survivor.”

“I just want to go away. It’s not liveable here for us. A lot of [trans] people are thinking about leaving the country. But it’s really hard.” It takes money, for one thing, at least until work can be found; the very thing that can elude trans people subject to discrimination.

Documentation isn’t necessarily simple, either. She cites as an example Germany, where many Hungarians emigrate. Although both countries are in the EU and therefore enjoy free movement, it takes 8 years of permanent residency until you can apply for citizenship in Germany. It’s a long time, especially when many trans people have already waited so long to transition or to receive their gender recognition. “But what other choice do we have?”

Amanda Malovics left Hungary in 2015, just months before the first suspension of gender recognition, and before she had begun to transition. She arrived in the UK with a suitcase and a resolution: to finally be herself. She was 25, with a degree in English and American studies.

Now 30, much of the time when Malovics speaks, she sounds determined and sad simultaneously, like a church bell; with determination dominating when talking of others — the struggle of trans people — and sadness when she allows herself to consider her own situation.

“I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a job,” she says. But within 8 months, she found work in a restaurant and began her transition. London came to feel like her home, somewhere to be permanently, she hoped. She found friends, others in the trans community, and began volunteering at a sexual health clinic. But then the Brexit referendum happened in June 2016. This coupled with the ensuing confusion surrounding the rights of EU citizens derailed her hopes of UK citizenship. All the while, the creeping infringements on liberty and identity taking place a thousand miles away began to taunt her.

“Hungary has always been there, as a threat,” she says. “I miss my country when it comes to the landscape and I love Budapest, but I don’t want to go back. It’s much more open here.” The comparison is not night and day, however. There are people in the UK who hate trans people, she acknowledges, and wish to erode their human rights. During the coronavirus pandemic, anti-trans commentators have only increased their invective, using their newspaper columns and Twitter accounts to attack this minority.

Courtesy Amanda Malovics

But the UK government is not seeking to snuff out the legal existence of transgender people. Malovics talks about Britain enthusiastically, gratefully even, and delivers the following line as if to say “only”.

“I can count, maybe not on one hand but on two hands, how many times I’ve been hurt or discriminated [against here]. And that’s a massive difference.” She describes what it is like on her annual trips back home to see her family. “I lose my self-confidence immediately. Even at the airport, I feel nervous. Like, ‘Oh my god, who’s going to hurt me? Who’s going to punch me in the face? Who’s going to say something bad?’ It’s always there.”

The reason for Malovics’ fear when returning to Hungary is the same reason she fears for her future now: Despite living and presenting as a woman, her passport and ID only show her former name and gender. By the time she applied in 2018, the suspension was in place. There is now, she feels, no hope of ever having documents that reflect who she is. So every time she returns home, and every moment she is in public when any official could ask to see her papers, she — and others in her situation — is at risk.

“That’s the main concern,” she says, of friends back home. “All of them are afraid of these documents being changed; that the government will allow all officials to read their sensitive information. It’s a violation of law.”

The burgeoning awareness of transgender people in Hungary since 2016 has so far mostly increased hostility, she says. It is a typical trajectory for minorities; a little knowledge of whom by the majority can often mean danger. The aggression, she says, is particularly directed at those who do not pass as cisgender. “They’re targeted and humiliated, verbally and physically attacked.”

“I’m really scared; I live in the UK right now but it still affects me,” she says. “I’m angry and I am sad; I could cry. These people [the Hungarian government] think I’m a freak, a danger, that I’m someone who has to be eliminated. And it’s not just me, it’s everyone else who is like me. I’m really concerned about what’s going to happen with all those people who live in Hungary because many of them are already saying they’re going to end their lives.”

Some have written of their intentions on social media. Malovics invokes a typical comment: “I just can’t deal with this and it’s better if I just end my life.” Others are saying they will delay transitioning; that it is too dangerous to begin now. Those who have already begun, says Malovics, “will have to live in fear of being hurt and will have to be grateful if that hurt is verbal.” The choices being considered are either not transitioning, suicide, or emigration — if they have the money. But even the first of these is not living, she says; it’s “wearing a mask all your life”.

The anguish being expressed is met with anger because of the pandemic, she says. “Many people are like, ‘This is your biggest concern during this time — what is happening with transgender issues?’ Nobody cares. Everyone’s getting mad at trans individuals trying to defend themselves.” This, she believes, was part of the reason for the timing of the bill; a brilliantly deployed tactic to quash resistance and sympathy.

International institutions such as the European Union — of which Hungary is a member — remain similarly muted amid the wider crisis. But the Hungarian government, says Dombos from the LGBTQ rights group the Hatter Society, is pursuing this law partly blindly.

“I don’t think they recognise how big an issue this is both in terms of its relevance for trans people or how clear the international human rights norms are on this issue,” he says.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made clear the legal position of transgender people 18 years ago. The Goodwin v United Kingdom case — in which a trans woman’s right to privacy, marriage, and family life was deemed to have been violated by the lack of legal gender recognition — formed a foundational precedent upon which supplementary protections grew: trans people must be allowed to change the gender on their birth certificate (and therefore passport).

“This is not debated anymore in [European] international human rights,” says Dombos.

With Hungary’s anti-trans law expected to pass in early May, the only hope of overturning it is in the ECHR, Dombos said. But there are already 23 legal challenges to Hungary’s suspension of legal recognition, which have not yet been heard. The entire process is likely to take many years. “Some of these 23 applications [date] back to 2017 and there’s still no binding decision,” says Dombos. Ultimately, he thinks, there can be only one outcome. “We have no question that the ECHR would find a violation.” By then, he says, innumerable lives could have been ruined.

In the meantime, there is work being done behind the scenes, by human rights groups such as the Hatter Society, as well as through diplomatic channels. All of which pose a quandary that has increasingly beset EU states and other organisations since Orban took office in 2010: how best to respond to the creeping authoritarian moves of a member state’s prime minister?

Courtesy Amanda Malovics

Amanda Malovics

So far, only the softest of interventions have been attempted. The European Parliament’s LGBTI intergroup issued a press release and wrote to the Hungarian government. The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatovic, said the proposed law “contravenes human rights standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”. And some embassies in Hungary, says Dombos, have raised the issue “behind closed doors”, partly due to the work his organisation does. “But whether that will be successful is a big question.”

Dombos is particularly concerned about harassment, as many trans people already face intrusive questions from colleagues, which can escalate. “People don’t really see boundaries about what you can and cannot ask,” he says.

Although one area of escalation can be sexual violence, unlike other countries which show trans people at greater risk of this than other groups, there is no data available in Hungary of sexual assaults on this community, he says. This is compounded by a wider issue of underreporting of hate crimes in the country, studies have shown, with official statistics not breaking down crimes according to motivation, and police and courts often disbelieving victims.

Anecdotal accounts, however, suggest fear of further attacks when the new law outs people is rising.

Onodi, the actor, wants international action, not merely the words of condemnation, to outfox Orban and revoke the bill. The European Union “don’t do anything” she says, and every time in the last 10 years in office Orban behaved badly, “They just wrote a letter saying, ‘No, you don’t do this,’ like it’s kindergarten.” The result of such appeasement is clear, she says. In contrast to trans people, “Orban now has more rights — like a king.”

It is the same word that Molnar, the YouTuber, uses to describe Orban, as she conjures the fears shared by a minority about where Hungary is heading. “This is not just against trans people,” she says. “It wasn’t the first move against our community and it won’t be the last. So if we let this happen now, who’s going to stop the next one?”●

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Patrick Strudwick is a LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Strudwick at patrick.strudwick@buzzfeed.com.

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Sweden And Denmark Took Very Different Approaches To Fighting The Coronavirus. The Data Shows Many More People Are Dying In Sweden.

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April 27, 2020, 17:24 GMT

Alberto Nardelli

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People sit in the spring sun at a restaurant in Stockholm, April 26.

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Sweden and Denmark both had relatively mild flu seasons this winter, with fewer people dying compared to recent years. Then COVID-19 struck, and the neighbouring countries adopted very different strategies.

While the Danes were among the first in Europe to go into lockdown, Sweden opted for the herd immunity approach, making it one of the few advanced economies in the world to do so. There was no strict lockdown, and social distancing was recommended but not dictated.

A visiting ban at care homes was introduced at the beginning of April to protect the elderly, gatherings of more than 50 people were prohibited, and universities and colleges were recommended to offer remote learning.

But otherwise, life carries on essentially unchanged: Most schools, restaurants, bars, clubs, and gyms are open, and people are practising social distancing.

A lot has been said and written about Sweden’s strategy. Its outlier status has been met with horror by some, curiosity by most, and applause by those pressing their own governments to lift restrictions that are having a destructive effect on economies and societies. With the leaders of the UK, the US, and other countries under increasing pressure to scale back their lockdowns, the question of whether Sweden’s approach is working is of international concern.

BuzzFeed News has analysed data published by the official Swedish statistics office and other available figures in an attempt to answer that question. The answer is not encouraging: We found that the country recorded a record number of excess deaths in the first three weeks of April.

In the 21 days before April 19, 7,169 people died — 1,843 more people compared to the average number of deaths during the same weeks between 2015 and 2019. That’s the equivalent of a 34.5% increase.

And on Monday, the Swedish statistics office said the number of deaths recorded in the week ending April 12 was the highest this century, surpassing a milestone set in the first week of 2000 when 2,364 people died. Three of the four weeks with the highest death tolls in the past two decades have occurred this month.

A bridge away in Denmark, the numbers tell a very different story. Statistics Denmark recorded 201 extra deaths over the same three weeks compared to a five-year average, an uptick of 6.5%. The contrast with the recent past is minimal. Even taking into account population size — Sweden is home to 10.3 million people, Denmark to 5.8 million — the gulf between the two countries appears stark.

The full extent of the impact of COVID-19 will not be clear for many months, maybe even years — but for now, the two Nordic countries are on different paths, not only in how they are fighting the coronavirus but also on the results so far.

Denmark’s approach has been much stricter than that of its neighbour. It announced the closure of schools, gyms, restaurants, cafés, and borders on March 11, as well as a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. The country started easing restrictions on April 15, reopening schools as a first step.

Niels Christian Vilmann / Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Ima

People keep their distance as they queue outside an Ikea in Gentofte, near Copenhagen, April 27.

An accurate like-for-like comparison between countries is complicated.

Figures published daily by governments, which include deaths and tests conducted, are often recorded differently in different countries. There are then specific circumstances — such as where and when transmissions occurred in a community, demographic factors like the age composition of a population, and the capacity of health care systems to deal with a pandemic — all of which vary between countries.

That’s why a metric known as “excess mortality” is seen by much of the scientific community as the best measure of the true death toll linked to the novel coronavirus outbreak, even though the exact cause of every death is not known.

Excess mortality is the least imperfect of measures. It looks at how many people have died on top of what would normally be expected at any given time of year by measuring the gap between the total number of deaths, regardless of cause, and the historical average for that place and time of year. David Spiegelhalter, a professor at Cambridge University, describes the metric as “the only unbiased comparison”.

Jonathan Nackstrand / Getty Images

A Swedish man shows his tattoo of state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.

Sweden’s policy remains popular with the vast majority of voters, despite coming under some criticism from parts of the country’s scientific community. Backing for prime minister Stefan Löfven has soared, and state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the public face of the country’s fight against the virus, is a household name.

And there are some nuances to the reality of the policy, as opposed to how it is often portrayed. Sweden has, for example, seen a substantial reduction in mobility, despite having mostly voluntary measures in place.

According to reports published by Google that use data from Google Maps to measure mobility trends, places like restaurants, cinemas, and other retail and recreation locations saw a 22% drop by April 1 relative to a baseline of usual activity. Transit stations and workplaces fell 38% and 29% respectively, while parks and places of residence rose 27% and 11%.

Data produced by Apple paints a similar pattern in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm: Driving was down 21%, walking 36%, and public transport saw a 52% fall. Corresponding figures for Copenhagen show sharper falls, though the gap has narrowed as lockdown measures in Denmark are gradually relaxed.

Our World in Data / Via ourworldindata.org

The number of people who have officially tested positive for the coronavirus in Sweden and Denmark isn’t that different.

By April 27, Sweden had 1,846 cases per 1 million people, while Denmark had 1,480 cases per 1 million, according to figures collected by Our World in Data, a collaborative project by researchers at the University of Oxford.

However, below the surface of all these topline numbers, there are significant differences.

A comparison between countries based on the number of officially counted positive cases alone is an imperfect exercise because it is largely linked to the number of tests a country carries out. If fewer tests are conducted, the chances are larger that positive cases are being missed. This has been a particular issue in the UK, which stopped all community testing when the virus took hold and is only now trying to scale it up again but remains well short of the government’s official target of 100,000 tests a day by this Thursday, April 30.

Although the World Health Organization hasn’t taken a side on the merits of a lockdown, the global health body has repeatedly stressed the importance of aggressively testing at scale.

At a press conference last month, the WHO said testing at the level of 10 negative tests to one positive should be seen as a general benchmark of a system that’s doing enough tests.

On that measure, Sweden is falling short. As of April 19, the most recent date with comparable figures available, about 14.5% of people tested in the country had tested positive for the coronavirus, compared to some 7.5% of people tested in Denmark. According to records collected by Our World in Data, relative to population size, Sweden had tested 9.4 people per 1,000 by that date, and Denmark had 16.3 people.

These metrics suggest that many more people have had the virus than official figures suggest.

But it is death count where the comparison between the two countries is most striking.

According to the latest official coronavirus figures published by each government, 2,194 people have died in Sweden and 422 have died in Denmark. A seven-day rolling average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths compiled by Our World in Data shows Sweden’s rate at 9.6 deaths per million and Denmark’s at 1.8 — and the gap between the two countries has widened this month.

Our World in Data / Via ourworldindata.org

Given the lagging nature of mortality data, the true death count from the pandemic in both countries is likely to be revised upwards over time.

Similarly to the number of positive cases, a comparison based on the number of deaths that are published daily isn’t straightforward. The initial figures are fed from a limited number of more readily available sources, such as hospitals. Determining and certifying a cause of death takes time and isn’t always a comparable process across countries. Governments record and present daily figures differently. Some, for example, only count deaths occurring in hospitals.

This is why mortality figures published by national statistics bodies are a better measure to make comparisons. Over time, they record all deaths that have taken place in a country, indicating a cause of death when possible. Excess mortality will capture both those who died directly from the coronavirus as well as those who have died for reasons linked to the pandemic — for example, whether people didn’t seek or receive medical attention for other illnesses.

The number of deaths recorded in Sweden in the first three weeks of April are 2,354, 2,505, and 2,310, respectively, which equates to 530, 755 and 558 excess deaths compared to the average between 2015 and 2019 for those same three weeks. All three weeks saw more deaths than previous highs recorded in the past five years.

The equivalent figures in Denmark are 1,152, 1,138, and 1,061 deaths, translating into 96, 69, and 36 excess deaths.

In both countries, more recent statistics are preliminary and likely to be revised upwards.

Statistics Sweden told BuzzFeed News that the data it publishes has a lag of about two weeks, meaning it takes some 14 days for most deaths to be reported. National statistics offices in Britain and France work on a similar timescale.

The Danish statistics body told BuzzFeed News that it was right to say that the number of deaths during March and April 2020 is almost at the same level as the country’s 2015–2019 average.

Jonathan Nackstrand / Getty Images

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell

The Swedish government has said that deaths in nursing homes have contributed to the country being hit by a higher toll than its neighbours. Some reports have suggested that the virus has reached up to 75% of care homes in Stockholm.

State epidemiologist Tegnell told the BBC last week that nearly half of all deaths have occurred in care homes and the government should have acted sooner to shield the most vulnerable. But the death rate itself doesn’t automatically undermine the entire strategy, he said.

Tegnell has also said that Sweden’s modellers are starting to see immunity build up as the disease spreads through the population, one of the factors that many see as crucial before allowing restrictions to ease significantly. The WHO has warned, however, that there still isn’t enough evidence to say that those who defeat the virus are immune from getting it again.

Another of Sweden’s most senior epidemiologists, Professor Johan Giesecke, criticised other governments’ more stringent lockdowns, arguing in an interview with UnHerd that countries such as the UK overreacted to a report produced by the Imperial College London. The report had warned of hundreds of thousands of deaths without tougher restrictions, and its model is credited with having greatly influenced many governments’ response to the pandemic.

Responding to the criticism, Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the report’s authors, noted that per capita, Stockholm’s mortality rate is approaching that of New York. He told UnHerd that he expected those numbers to continue to rise day by day. “It is clearly a policy decision for the Swedish government whether they wish to tolerate that,” said Ferguson. “I don’t think it’s a decision other countries have made.”

Giesecke has predicted that death tolls will even out over time as governments lift restrictions, and as a result more people will become infected where lockdowns were strictest.

Health experts in the country also note that Sweden’s hospital capacity and health service have not been overwhelmed at any stage during the crisis, which is one of the main objectives that underpin the strategies of all countries, regardless of the rigidity of the specific measures each has put in place. In Stockholm this past week, more people left hospitals than entered.

It is too early to fully judge efforts to fight the pandemic, and a lot is still not known about the coronavirus itself. It will be a long time before the entire debate has played out, and even the best data is subject to revisions and reporting lags. But, for now, the data shows that Sweden’s different approach is coming with a heavier death toll.

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Alberto Nardelli is Europe editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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Please Don’t Drink Disinfectant, Lysol And Dettol Maker Said After Trump Suggested People Could Inject It To Kill The Coronavirus

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April 24, 2020, 17:05 GMT

Emily Ashton

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The makers of Dettol have been forced to issue a press release telling people not to inject themselves with disinfectant — after US president Donald Trump suggested it could help kill the coronavirus.

British firm Reckitt Benckiser (RB), which makes disinfectants Dettol and Lysol among other household products, said “under no circumstance” should disinfectant be injected or ingested.

At his press conference on Thursday, Trump suggested scientists should investigate if they could inject the human body with disinfectants to kill the virus.

“I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” he said. “Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”

In a statement, RB said: “Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information.”

Trump also suggested that scientists should look at how they could “hit the body” with ultraviolet light to treat patients for coronavirus.

His comments at the White House briefing have sparked an outcry from the medical profession.

Judy Melinek M.D.
@drjudymelinek

Oh FFS please don’t do this. I don’t need the extra work. If you are sick call your doctor. Don’t self medicate. https://t.co/uBXIasVXio

12:19 AM – 24 Apr 2020

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Kashif Mahmood
@kashmood

As a physician, I can’t recommend injecting disinfectant into the lungs or using UV radiation inside the body to treat COVID-19. Don’t take medical advice from Trump. https://t.co/YcZXJXfSxu

11:22 PM – 23 Apr 2020

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Jonathan Spicer MD PhD
@DoctorJSpicer

No joke – we had a patient swallow Lysol as a #disinfectant a couple of weeks ago to prevent COVID19 infection. He made it out of the hospital after his gastrectomy…
This kind of nonsense is absolutely mind blowing.

11:52 PM – 23 Apr 2020

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Speaking at the UK government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Friday evening, deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries also urged people not to follow the president’s suggestion.

“Clearly, we would not support [that], from a medical professional perspective, it is really important that people use appropriate treatments that are evidence-based and tested,” she said.

“We have very good programmes that have been taken up very rapidly, coordinated in this country, testing various different alternative treatments. Those trials will report reasonably early, but certainly nobody should be injecting anything, and we should be using evidence-based and properly trialled treatments that we know will be safe.”

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Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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Britain’s Coronavirus Toilet Roll Panic Has Created A Bidet Sales Boom

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April 23, 2020, 11:48 GMT

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The coronavirus has changed people’s habits in peculiar ways. Germans are sleeping longer. Italians are eating more rabbit and apricots, even though the fruit is not in season. Britons, meanwhile, are buying bidets.

Online searches for the term “bidet” spiked in March, according to Google Trends data. The queries “what is a bidet used for” and “how to use a bidet” had, in Google parlance, a “tremendous increase”, with triple-digit percent rises.

And retailers say that interest, coupled with ongoing fears of toilet paper running out again, has translated into a sales boom.

Ahmad Abuleil, the founder of Boss Bidet, which sells bidet toilet seat attachments told BuzzFeed News that his company’s sales had increased tenfold since panic buying emptied shelves of roll at the start of the UK’s outbreak in March.

He’s not alone. The Big Bathroom Shop said there had been a “notable upturn” in people buying bidets, Tooaleta said it was selling four times as many of its nonelectric bidet seats as usual, and Tushy’s UK sales have tripled in the last month.

The bidet was invented in the 1700s in France. Its first known user, according to the book Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper at least, was Jeanne Agnès Berthelot de Pléneuf, the marquise de Prie. The same story is recounted in other histories of the basin-shaped toilet ware.

Stephane De Sakutin / Getty Images

The sculpture “Tableau objet: bidet” (1968) of Peter Klasen is shown in 2008 at the Grand Palais in Paris.

The bidet became a curiosity among noble families in France and Europe, making its way to Italy thanks to the Queen of Naples and Sicily who had them installed in her castle in Caserta.

Developments in plumbing allowed the use of bidets to extend into the bathroom and eventually across society more widely. Bidets remain a relatively common feature in households in France, Italy, and other parts of southern Europe to this day.

In 1980, the bidet got a significant upgrade when the Japanese company Toto launched an electronic variation of the product. The Toto Washlet, which essentially bakes the concept of a bidet directly into a toilet, now includes features such as heated seats, powered at the touch of a button.

The company told BuzzFeed News that it has sold more than 50 million Washlets worldwide since launch, and some 20 five-star hotels in London have guest rooms with Washlets installed.

Toto / Via gb.toto.com

But in the UK, although bidets became momentarily fashionable in the ’70s and ’80s, they never really caught on — until toilet paper started running out in supermarkets last month.

A Big Bathroom Shop spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that “toilet paper crisis” was among the most popular related keywords behind Google searches for the term bidet.

“We have received a higher proportion of calls about bidets and Japanese toilets than has been usual. The presales team have also mentioned that the looming “toilet roll crisis” is something that is mentioned quite regularly by those people calling up,” the spokesperson said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s bidet panic stations, but there is a notable upturn in people looking at this sort of product,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said sales of bidets and Japanese toilets were three times higher in the first three months of this year compared to 2019.

According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal last week, worries about toilet paper shortages in the US have driven increased interest in bidets there too.

Retailers told BuzzFeed News that British consumers have been mostly opting for non-electric Bidet attachments and seats, rather than higher-end Japanese toilets and porcelain options, which often require professional help with plumbing and instalment.

Jonas Mayer of the online shop Tooaleta said the company had seen a significant uptick, and is selling about 40–50 nonelectric bidet seats and attachments per day at the moment, from 10–15 units previously.

However, Mayer added that Tooaleta has also seen a drop in sales of more expensive electric models, where prices can range from £500 to £10,000.

Nonelectric alternatives retail from about £50 to £150.

Bidet attachments and portable bidets have recently made regular appearances in Amazon’s list of 100 best sellers in bathroom fixtures, suggesting that consumers may mostly be attracted to budget or short-term flirtations.

Mayer said the focus on budget options could continue during a recession but, he added, “changing toilet habits doesn’t happen overnight”.

Manufacturers are hoping the pandemic catapults bidets into the mainstream, and they say that environmental considerations are on their side of the argument.

The average Briton goes through an estimated 127 rolls of toilet paper a year, making it one of the world’s top consumers of loo tissue. Worldwide, toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day, according to a report by World Watch magazine cited in National Geographic. Some studies suggest that toilet paper accounts for 15% of global deforestation.

TUSHY

The US manufacturer Tushy, whose UK sales have risen nearly three-fold in the past month, has placed an environmental message at the heart of its mission to change America’s toilet habits, the company says.

“While this could be the tipping point that finally gets people to adopt the bidet,” said Miki Agrawal, the company’s founder, “Tushy’s goal has always been to save the 15 million trees that are getting flushed down every year, save billions of gallons of water required to make the toilet paper and actually help clean bottoms properly, once and for all.”

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Alberto Nardelli is Europe editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alberto Nardelli at alberto.nardelli@buzzfeed.com.

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“WTF Was I Meant To Do?” Australia’s Former PM Spilled The Tea About That Phone Call With Trump In His New Book

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April 23, 2020, 05:08 GMT

Hannah Ryan

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Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull in November 2017.

Remember the infamous first phone call between US president Donald Trump and then Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull?

“This is the most unpleasant call all day,” Trump said, as he brought the January 2017 conversation to an end. “Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.”

The topic of the call was the refugee swap deal between Australia and the US, struck by Barack Obama and Malcolm Turnbull, and later reluctantly adopted by the Trump administration.

Under the deal the US agreed to resettle up to 1,200 refugees Australia had held in offshore detention camps in the Pacific for years.

The deal survived Turnbull’s August 2018 removal from office, and so far the US has resettled more than 700 refugees under it, with almost 300 more approved for transfer. Homeland Security staffers were in Sydney as recently as February interviewing candidates for resettlement.

Turnbull’s tell-all book about his political career, A Bigger Picture, was released on Monday. Here’s what it reveals about the deal he argued over with Trump.

Turnbull says that resettling refugees and asylum seekers was one of his “highest priorities” when he became prime minister

When Turnbull won the prime ministership from Tony Abbott in September 2015, there were about 1,800 people in offshore detention, on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. Finding a third country resettlement solution for these people was one of Turnbull’s highest priorities, and he met regularly with then immigration minister Peter Dutton and foreign minister Julie Bishop about it in the early months of his term, he writes.

Turnbull and Obama agreed on the deal in January 2016

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Turnbull and Obama at the White House in January 2016.

Turnbull said he realised early on that the US was the “best, and possibly only, realistic option” for resettling the refugees. He raised the issue in an Oval Office meeting with Barack Obama in January 2016, where the two made an in principle agreement.

Turnbull writes that he told Obama the offshore population of about 1,800 people, mostly from the Middle East, “weren’t terrorists or criminals” and had been thoroughly vetted, but that if he brought them to Australia it would encourage people smugglers to start sending boats to Australia again. He said the largest single group was of Iranians, who were mostly economic migrants, but that Iran would not accept returned asylum seekers.

“I said, ‘And we want to get them off those islands. So, can we do a deal where you offer asylum to them and we do the same with some of the people seeking refuge in the US?’

“The president described his nation’s challenge: waves of unaccompanied children and youths crossing the border from Guatemala, El Salvador and elsewhere fleeing gang violence.”

Australia and the US decided to hold off announcing the deal until after the 2016 presidential election

The deal was signed on Sept. 20 that year when Turnbull was in New York. Obama and Turnbull both agreed they should not announce it during the presidential campaign, “lest Trump seize on it and make an issue of it”.

Australia agreed to take “complex cases” from the Americans

The text of the deal has never been made public, and it is not clear exactly what Australia’s side of the bargain was.

“It was a fair deal: we were resettling people for the Americans, including some complex cases, as they were assisting us,” Turnbull writes. Those complex cases may include three Rwandan men who were charged with murder over a massacre of tourists.

(A US official has said that Australia agreed to make efforts to take refugees fleeing Central America, and to take refugees from areas it does not normally take refugees from, but it was not a one-to-one swap.)

Australia was nervous that Fox News would criticise the deal

The deal was announced on Nov. 13 and American officials began interviews on Nauru in early December. “Naturally, we were anxious to ensure that the right-wing media in the USA, especially Fox News, didn’t latch on to the deal and make it an issue, so we were careful to say as little as possible,” Turnbull writes.

Jared Kushner helped save the deal when Trump introduced his travel ban

A December conversation with incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus gave Turnbull the impression Trump would stick with the deal, but then in January Australia heard of Trump’s plans to ban refugees from majority-Muslim countries. “Frantic lobbying” from Australia followed. Dow Chemicals CEO, Australian-born Andrew Liveris, introduced Turnbull and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Turnbull called Kushner and Trump’s immigration adviser Stephen Miller to urge them to stick with the deal.

“They were sympathetic and assured me the new executive order wouldn’t prevent the refugee deal going ahead,” Turnbull writes.

Vice president Mike Pence and national security advisor Mike Flynn also assured senior Australian officials that the Trump administration would honour the deal. On Jan. 27, the executive order carved out an exemption for preexisting international agreements.

“Thanks, Jared!” Turnbull writes.

The Australians were told Trump would not honour the deal shortly before Trump and Turnbull got on the phone

Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

Trump’s first call with Turnbull.

Just before Turnbull arrived at his office for his first call with Trump, Flynn and Pence called Australian counterparts to ask them not to even mention the deal on the call. Trump had changed his mind and he would not honour the deal.

Despite the tension on the call, Turnbull writes, “I reasoned with Trump and finally won him over”.

Trump held a grudge against Turnbull after the call

Kushner told Turnbull over a month later that Trump was “still hurt” about the deal.

“‘He hadn’t expected you’d come on so strong, although we knew that was your reputation,'” Kushner told him, according to Turnbull. “I told him I didn’t think the call was so bad. ‘Malcolm, it was bad’.”

Kushner urged Turnbull to be “low-key and deferential” towards Trump at an upcoming event, which Rupert Murdoch had persuaded Trump to attend.

Turnbull wrote in his diary that day: “It sounds like Trump felt he had been bested in the negotiation and was furious with himself and with me. Well, WTF was I meant to do? Anyway sounds like we have to play it by ear and the goal of the meeting is simply not to have a row or a diplomatic debacle like so many of his other international meetings.”

Australia’s ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey, was also worried that Trump might “nurse this grievance and want to pay me back”. At one point, Australian diplomats suggested Turnbull offer Trump a concession on a tax treaty in exchange for honouring the refugee deal.

Turnbull was annoyed Australian journalists kept asking about the deal at White House press briefings

Turnbull’s plan was to keep the deal “very low-key” and send the message that Trump didn’t like the deal but had decided to honour it anyway. But the Australian media, particularly the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “badgered the White House” for detail and did “everything they could” to make it a US news story, including raising the issue in the White House briefing room, Turnbull writes.

“I wasn’t surprised they relished the prospect of embarrassing Trump and, if the deal fell over, my government as well,” Turnbull says.

“But I wonder if the ABC’s Zoe Daniel [then Washington correspondent] ever considered the refugees who stood to benefit from the arrangement.”

Australia thought Steve Bannon was trying to undermine the deal

The Washington Post published details of the Trump-Turnbull call, including Trump’s accusation that it was his worst call that day, on Feb. 2, 2017, less than a week after the call, and a few hours after this tweet:

Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump

Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!

03:55 AM – 02 Feb 2017

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“We assumed the leak had come from Bannon; his motive would have been either to produce enough heat to force Trump to renege on his commitment to me or, at the very least, to demonstrate to Trump’s base that he’d agreed to the deal only through the most gritted of teeth,” according to Turnbull.

Turnbull was happy details of the call were leaked

The deal had never been a big US news story — but the tense call was, and it had the opposite of its intended effect, Turnbull said. “Both fans of Australia and critics of Trump lined up to express their solidarity with us,” he writes. “Trump and/or Bannon had overreached and now we had the upper hand.”

Trump joked that Turnbull had “two thousand of the worst terrorists in the world locked up on a desert island” and had talked Trump into taking them

When Trump and Turnbull finally met in May 2017, Trump told his wife Melania: “Melania, do you know, Malcolm has two thousand of the worst terrorists in the world locked up on a desert island and that fool Obama agreed to take them. Can you believe that? And now Malcolm has talked me into taking them too! He got me to do something I promised never to do! He is a tough negotiator!” By this point, Trump knew that the refugees posed no security risks.

“Melania smiled, faintly and mischievously. ‘Just like you, Donald,’ she said,” Turnbull writes.

New Zealand told Australia they would take 150 people per year, but they didn’t want to take single men

Afp Contributor / Getty Images

Ardern and Turnbull in Sydney in November 2017.

New Zealand has a standing offer to take 150 people from offshore detention. But, Turnbull writes, “they didn’t want any single men (the bulk of the detainee population)”, and Australia’s agencies advised that people smugglers would exploit resettlement in New Zealand as being the same as settlement in Australia.

When Jacinda Ardern raised the issue with Turnbull shortly after she was elected New Zealand’s prime minister in October 2017, he told her he wanted to complete the US deal first, he writes. “She was later to press me on this but wanted to prioritise taking women and children; as I pointed out, these were the most likely to get offers to go to the USA.”

A spokesperson for Ardern has described Turnbull’s account as fair, as New Zealand prioritises families, children, vulnerable groups and people with high protection within its refugee intake. However, the New Zealand government has also said its policy does not exclude men.

Turnbull regretted not getting everybody off Manus and Nauru during his prime ministership

“Of course, I left the prime minister’s office with many things undone…while there was not one successful people-smuggling expedition to Australia during my time, I wasn’t able to realise my goal of resettling all the asylum seekers in PNG and Nauru,” Turnbull writes. Nevertheless, Turnbull cites signing the deal and getting it underway even with Trump as one of his proudest achievements.

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Hannah Ryan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

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This Facebook Page Was Known For Its Spiritual Memes. Now It’s Been Classified As A Coronavirus “Misinformation Super-Spreader”.

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Joey D’Urso

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If you like your News Feed on Facebook to include a steady stream of sunset photos, Buddha memes, and inspirational quotes from the likes of Bob Marley and the Dalai Lama, you might be among the 2 million people who have followed a page called “Energy Therapy UK” since it was created in 2009.

It was set up by London-based yoga teachers Jaime and Jennifer Tanna, who say they seek to “educate the public about energy healing, personal growth and valid alternative approaches to health and wellbeing”.

In addition to posting uplifting memes, the page also sells remote tarot readings and online sessions devoted to “chakra healing” and “spiritual restructuring”.

But in recent weeks, it has sharply changed tack.

It now pumps out material about the coronavirus pandemic, which has been branded as a mix of conspiracy theories and debunked hoaxes by researchers, who last week described it as one of the world’s biggest “super-spreaders” of COVID-19 misinformation.

Many recent posts have been flagged as “false” by Facebook’s fact-checkers or removed by the platform altogether, leading to a backlash among some followers and the page admins claiming censorship.

According to NewsGuard, a website that gives “trust” ratings to news sites, this is an example of a wider trend — pages devoted to spirituality and alternative therapies are becoming a major source of misleading information relating to the pandemic.

The page’s gentle, uplifting posts about spirituality and nature often get shared hundreds or thousands of times on Facebook by people who may not be aware of the source but help Energy Therapy UK pile on new followers.

Facebook / Via Facebook

The primary purpose of the page is to sell products like a 45 minute “remote chakra healing session” costing £60, an hour-long “remote energy healing session” costing £90, or a “spiritual restructuring session” costing the same amount.

It’s not unusual for businesses to post things on Facebook that diverge from their core product in order to reach a bigger audience. But those who “liked” the page several years ago because they saw a spiritual meme won’t just be seeing adverts for tarot readings, but a steady stream of coronavirus-related stories Facebook classifies as misinformation.

One recent post suggested that there is a link between the virus and 5G mobile phone networks, a claim widely alleged to be without scientific evidence and debunked.

Others downplayed the severity of the virus or pushed conspiracy theories about totalitarian governments.

Facebook / Via Facebook

Page founders Jaime and Jennifer Tanna teach yoga and reiki, a Japanese form of alternative medicine. According to the website associated with the Facebook page they have been teaching outdoor yoga in Paphos in Greece but are planning to move to Bali. However Jaime Tanna’s LinkedIn page lists his location as London.

The website shares uplifting quotes as well as listing the online sessions for sale.

Until recently the Facebook page rarely featured the Tannas directly, but in recent weeks Mr Tanna has uploaded lengthy monologues about the coronavirus.

In one recent broadcast he appeared to deny the existence of the virus, saying “there are smart people in this world and if there was a virus, they would have isolated it by now, and they would have done other things, and they would be using a test that was much more accurate — this is all media hype and bullshit”.

This video had been shared over 30,000 times before being deleted when BuzzFeed News approached Facebook for a comment, along with another post saying that data shows the pandemic is “over”.

However other posts flagged by BuzzFeed News were not removed, including one which said the virus is being used as “bait to trick you” as part of a plan for “forced vaccinations”.

Another recent Energy Therapy post referenced “Agenda 2030”, linked to the “Agenda 21” conspiracy theory about a totalitarian world government seeking to kill most of the world’s population as part of a UN plot. As BuzzFeed News has previously reported, this has been given fresh life by the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook / Via Facebook

This post was not deleted, nor was one which said “If you don’t get your 50 mandatory vaccines and do EXACTLY what your told, then you will be “cut off.” Corona Virus is being used as the bait to trick you. Make no mistake.”

An Energy Therapy post sharing an interview with David Icke was flagged as “false” by fact-checkers working with Facebook, but not removed.

Facebook / Via Facebook

Facebook says it removes content “that could contribute to imminent harm” but more general conspiracy theories do not get removed.

The company believes it is better to leave these things up and label them “false” rather than remove everything, as then it would simply exist elsewhere on the internet.

A Facebook spokesperson said in March the platform removed “hundreds of thousands” of pieces of harmful misinformation and applied warning labels from independent fact-checkers to 40 million posts.

The pivot from Buddha memes to “misinformation” is not unique to Energy Therapy UK.

“Many websites and Facebook pages that were formerly centred around self-care or ‘alternative care’ have now become fully dedicated to spreading health-based disinformation,” William Dance, a PhD researcher in linguistics and disinformation at Lancaster University, told BuzzFeed News.

Other pages have also built up a huge audience posting inoffensive content then suddenly changed tack to more harmful content, he says.

“Facebook and other social media platforms must do more to identify and act against pages who shift their narrative towards disinformation over time.”

NewsGuard, a website which gives “trust ratings” to news sites, published a list of 15 Facebook pages around the world which are “super spreaders” of coronavirus misinformation this week.

As well as Energy Therapy UK, it named Health Impact News, which it described as: “a network of health sites that publishes false content… including a false claim that Vitamin C was an effective treatment for the coronavirus” and Tropical Traditions, a page that “publishes a mixture of lifestyle content, recipes, and health information from unreliable sources,” which made the same claim about Vitamin C.

Some followers of Energy Therapy UK are not happy with the recent pivot according to posts on the site’s Facebook page.

“The page should stick to the positive energy healing” one said. “There were so many political posts I finally quit scrolling through.”

“Lately it has been too political and divisive, therefore I am unfollowing” said another. “I try to fill my feed with positive energy.”

However other followers are strongly supportive of the Tannas and last week the page addressed the backlash directly, posting to say “we’ve lost some people and that’s fine. But the truth cannot be squashed.”

Facebook.com

As Facebook clamps down more and more on Energy Therapy UK, the page has been decrying Facebook’s ‘censorship’ and directing users to its profile on an alternative social media app called MeWe which is less rigorously policed.

BuzzFeed News approached Energy Therapy UK for comment and received no reply. Tanna has accused Facebook of “actively censoring” content in response to posts being removed.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company is doing more than just removing harmful content.

“We’re also distributing authoritative health information across our apps: so far we’ve directed over 2 billion people to resources from health authorities through our COVID-19 Information Center — with over 350 million people clicking through to learn more.”

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Joey D'Urso is media and politics reporter at BuzzFeed News UK and is based in London.

Contact Joey D’Urso at joey.durso@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Visitors Swarmed To Sydney’s Reopened Beaches Last Week And Proved We Can’t Have Nice Things

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April 27, 2020, 02:42 GMT

Julia Willing

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In an effort to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, major beaches across Sydney (and indeed, the country) have remained closed for the past month — as our government battles to flatten the curve of infection.

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However, last week in Sydney’s East, Randwick Council optimistically tried reopening some of its beaches — with designated exercise times permitted at Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra.

Saeed Khan / Getty Images

Over the Anzac Day weekend, the beaches were opened from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. for exercise only.

And in a turn of events that will surprise absolutely nobody, crowds soon arrived en masse to the beaches — with little to no regard for the rules of social distancing.

Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

Police at Maroubra Beach were forced to evacuate swimmers from the water due to “non-compliance”.

At Coogee, things were no better.

Ruth Wynn-Williams
@RuthWW

Moths to a flame at Coogee at 8.40 this morn.
Three hour opening hours going great guns*

*if you are the virus

12:41 AM – 26 Apr 2020

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Bruce Templeton
@brucetempleton

Social distancing at Coogee beach. #COVID19Aus #coogee #SocialDistancing

11:15 PM – 24 Apr 2020

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And at Clovelly, sights were much the same:

Paul Chivers
@riskfacilitator

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. #Clovelly 🙁

04:27 AM – 26 Apr 2020

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On Sunday night, Randwick council announced the beaches would remain open from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. today, but didn’t confirm whether those conditions would change over the remainder of the week.

Randwick Council
@RandwickCouncil

Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly Beaches will be accessible for exercise tomorrow (Mon) from 6-9am. That means swimming, surfing and jogging. 🏊‍♀️ 🏄‍♂️ 🏃‍♂️ Please practise social distancing and leave once you’ve finished exercising. We need everyone’s help to do the right thing. 🙏

07:46 AM – 26 Apr 2020

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And with neighbouring council, Waverely, set to reopen Bondi and Bronte Beach tomorrow, swimmers and surfers are being warned not to disregard the rules.

Paula Masselos
@paulamasselos

Not long now Bronte. 7.00 am Tuesday 28 April swimmers and surfers will be able to safely access the water via designated corridors. Beach remains closed. Please observe rules and social distancing as I really want this to work. Otherwise reclosure.

05:35 AM – 25 Apr 2020

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Please, for the love of god, observe the rules of social distancing, so we can all enjoy nice things in moderation. 🙏🙏🙏

You can keep up-to-date with all of our most recent coverage of the coronavirus here.

How The Coronavirus Is Affecting Black And South Asian Communities Across The UK

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April 16, 2020, 13:56 GMT

Hannah Al-Othman

BuzzFeed News Reporter

Ikran Dahir

BuzzFeed News Reporter

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Shoppers buy fruit and vegetables from stallholders at Whitechapel Market in east London.

The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

Mohammad Rakib’s aunt Nazma Abidin recently died from COVID-19. “My aunt’s immediate family, her children, and grandchildren were not permitted to see her and she died, alone in a hospital bed, just four days after testing positive,” he told BuzzFeed News.

Rakib, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, lives in Tower Hamlets, in east London, where he has seen firsthand the devastating impact of the coronavirus on his community. As well as the death of his aunt, he has witnessed friends, relatives and neighbours suffer losses as hundreds of people per day continue to die from the virus.

“My best friend lost her uncle and grandmother just 24 hours apart,” he said. “A neighbour shared a message asking for prayers for his friend who lost his mother and older sister in the space of a week. I now have another aunt in hospital and she too has tested positive for COVID-19.”

In minority communities such as Rakib’s across the UK, the impact of coronavirus is being felt disproportionately. While everyone in the country is dealing with the fear over the pandemic’s spread, in these communities the toll is even higher.

A report out last week from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) suggested that ethnic minority groups are already being impacted more by the virus. It found that 35% of intensive care patients were from minority ethnic backgrounds — despite the fact that they make up just 14% of the general population.

The research, taking data from around 2,000 seriously ill patients, found that 14% were Asian and the same proportion were black. The research provides the first real quantitative data on the impact the virus is having on minority populations in the UK.

The government has now launched a formal review into why people from BAME backgrounds are being disproportionately affected.

“That’s something that we’re looking at very carefully to try to understand,” the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance told ITV News on Monday, adding that the impact was “particularly noticeable among some of the healthcare practitioners that we’ve seen who have unfortunately succumbed as a result of this”.

Mahatir Pasha
@mahatir_pasha

10 doctors have now died from #COVID19 in the UK. All immigrants.

Adil el-Tayar 🇸🇩
Amged el-Hawrani 🇸🇩
Habib Zaidi 🇵🇰
Alfa Sa’adu 🇳🇬
Jitendra Rathod 🇮🇳
Anton Sebastianpillai 🇱🇰
Sami Shousha 🇪🇬
Syed Haider 🇵🇰
Abdul Mabud Chowdhury 🇧🇩
Fayez Ayache 🇸🇾

#NHSheroes 🇬🇧

12:40 PM – 10 Apr 2020

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BuzzFeed News spoke to doctors, epidemiologists, charities, and community leaders in different communities across the UK, to build a fuller picture of the impact coronavirus is having on black and Asian people in Britain.

They say several factors are driving the infection rate and death toll higher: bigger, more overcrowded households make it easier for the virus to spread; higher rates of comorbidities such as diabetes and heart disease mean more chance of becoming seriously ill in the first place; and a lack of information in community languages, combined with the spread of misinformation on platforms such a WhatsApp.

With a high proportion of black and minority ethnic people also working in frontline services — in the NHS, or as cleaners, bus drivers, or carers — for many it increases the risk of coming into contact with the virus in the first place.

“We have underlying health issues depending on what part of the world we’re from,” said Rakib in Tower Hamlets.

“Having multigenerational households, you know, you’re more likely to get sick, because you’ve got vulnerable people, whether the young kids or elderly, and then the places that we live, especially in places like Tower Hamlets, are very overpopulated, very densely populated multi-generational households, overcrowded houses.

“People live in flats with more people than they should be in those flats. That’s why I think it’s affecting our community the way it is because especially in places where I live, in Tower Hamlets, it will rip through, with no mercy.”

Mark D. Levine
@MarkLevineNYC

BREAKING: New York City publishes racial breakdown for coronavirus deaths.

And it paints the picture that we feared it would.

02:11 PM – 08 Apr 2020

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The disproportionate impact on minority groups is not just a UK phenomenon. Data from the United States has also shown that in New York, black and Hispanic populations are being harder hit by the virus than their white counterparts. In Chicago, 70% of deaths have been black residents, despite them making up just 30% of the population.

In Sweden, six out of 15 people who died in one day from the coronavirus were Swedish Somalis. The Swedish Somali medical association has voiced concern about a lack of information in Somali being sent out to the community during the beginning stages of the pandemic.

The first coronavirus death in Sweden was an elderly Somali woman from the UK who had underlying health conditions. Statistics from Norway similarly show that 1 in 100 Somalis have tested positive for the virus and 1 in 5 positive cases are people who were outside of Norway.

Fredrik Sandberg / TT News Agency/PA Images

Stockholm

One reason that ethnic minority communities seem to be being hit harder is obvious to Shikta Das, a senior research fellow in epidemiology at University College London. She has researched the ethnic difference in Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease markers.

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Shikta Das

“There is going to be a huge difference in how ethnic groups respond to coronavirus in comparison to the white Europeans, Caucasians,” she told BuzzFeed News, “basically because we as ethnic groups, the BAME group, we have a lot of comorbidities like diabetes, we have the highest amount of Type 2 diabetes in our sort of ethnic group.”

“If you look at some of the figures,” she continued, “they are astounding… just looking at prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, it’s the highest among the Pakistani men. And Type 2 diabetes in Bangladeshi men, Bangladeshi women and again, Indian men and women are equally, extremely high in terms of diabetes. So, looking at those figures, I am absolutely not surprised to see the amount of dead among this group.”

She also highlighted the problem of families living more closely together. “Coming from an Asian background, I can tell you that, culturally because we do live in a more multigeneration population, you know, so that makes it very, very difficult that there is a infected person in the family.”

The West Midlands has the second peak of the virus, behind London, and Birmingham has the highest number of cases of any upper-tier local authority. Shabana Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywell, said she was constantly fielding calls from worried constituents who are concerned about how best to protect their families.

Uhb Nhs Foundation Trust / PA

Mahmood said there were several reasons for this, but one big concern is the number of generations living under one roof.

“One of the things I’ve been particularly concerned about,” she said, “is the very high prevalence in a constituency like mine, but across Birmingham and the West Midlands of intergenerational families, which is obviously a big feature of the South Asian origin community in this country.

“I was worried about the fact that a lot of the advice on shielding, and people who are over 70, and people with underlying conditions, didn’t take into account that a very large number of those people will be living with younger members of their family,” she added.

“And also,” she said, “if you’re the carer for your parent, and the carer for your children, it’s very difficult then isn’t it because you’re having to move between your children and your parents, and they both need your care, personal care as well, getting changed in the morning, prepping meals.”

“I think it is that combination — higher rates of intergenerational living, and then higher rates of either underlying heart conditions or diabetes, which are the two big risk factors,” she said.

/ PA

Shabana Mahmood

Mahmood said what was missing was advice from the government for how best to protect elderly or vulnerable relatives if you live in close proximity.

“I just think nothing has been simplified and tailored for people in those circumstances, of which there are many thousands in my patch alone, and so that’s where there’s the concern because no one quite knows how to shield their elderly grandparent.”

Mahmood also thinks the government was too slow to act and that coronavirus could have spread widely at large community gatherings — which carried on right until the government announced full lockdown, meaning the full impact may not yet have been seen.

“I’m worried about that period in the lead up to full lockdown,” Mahmood said, “where there was just a lot of confusion about what was and wasn’t possible and in that period people were still going to weddings, still going to funerals, and there’s been a lot of weddings because it’s in the pre-Ramadan season.

“The government had only just started saying ‘oh, well, this is very dangerous and people need to take more care’, but didn’t actually spell out what that means and so people not unreasonably just sort of carried on because like everybody else they thought we were talking about mild flu. So I think that confusion in that period leading up to lockdown has had a big impact on the spread of the infection.”

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Birmingham, England

Adnan Sharif, a consultant nephrologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, told BuzzFeed News: “We’ve noticed probably maybe four out of every ten admissions are people from the BAME community.”

While he said that to an extent “that is representative probably of local demographics”, he said there is evidence of some communities being affected more.

“I mean, even if you look nationally, I think the ITU data which was published suggests that 35% of people who were admitted to intensive care were people from the BAME community,” he said, “which national perspective is something much higher than the proportion of the BAME community.

“I know there’s been a lot of talk about whether there’s something very specific about people from the BAME community from a biological perspective. My personal feeling was that it probably is just reflective of other factors. So we know from emerging research, they have certain health issues and put you at much higher risk of developing COVID or maybe getting more severe COVID such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and we know that those problems are a lot more common in the BAME community.”

He also supported Mahmood’s view that the living situation of many of her constituents could put them at increased risk from the virus.

“I think the other factor is probably more sociocultural factors,” he said. “I think more people from the BAME community perhaps live in social housing, they’re more likely to live in households with multiple occupancy, they may have more individuals from different generations living there, and perhaps more communal activities, eating together, etc, etc.”

Sharif said that the medical community was trying to understand how the virus affected different groups — but said he did not think that ethnicity posed a greater risk in itself.

“We want to be careful not to worry people unnecessarily,” he said, “I don’t think being black or Asian, by itself, is a risk factor. I think it’s just what comes with it, it’s the fact that black and Asian people are more likely to have these other health issues, and they are more likely to have a social setup, which makes them more vulnerable, rather than their ethnicity by itself.”

He added: “As more and more data comes through, we’re hoping to try and kind of answer this question with regards to ethnicity, and hopefully reassure the BAME community that ethnicity itself is not a risk factor. It’s the other either health issues or social factors which play a part.”

Daniel Leal-olivas / Getty Images

Shoppers stand by the shuttered frontage of a closed-down shop in Whitechapel, east London

Rabina Khan, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Tower Hamlets and special adviser to the Lib Dem leader in the House of Lords, said that she could already “see the devastating impact [of the coronavirus] on the ground.”

She told BuzzFeed News: “I don’t think the government has got advisors to help them to direct their strategy in terms of reaching these communities… They didn’t even, haven’t even, thought about this properly,” she said.

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Rabina Khan

“They need to realise that diabetes, cholesterol, all of that is prevalent in the South Asian communities,” she added, “South Asian communities do live as intergenerational and often care for their older generations of parents, there are many of living in high rise towers, and it’s even more difficult for them.”

Khan said that one family she knows has paid to put older relatives in privately rented accommodation during the outbreak — but most people in her community can’t afford to.

“The stress level on these families is enormous,” she said, “because they’ve been severely overcrowded, [their] first language is not English, and there are many of them who also work in the care support sector who haven’t got proper PPE — and that’s another factor as well, because if you look at the South Asian communities, you will see many of them working as either as cleaners in hospitals or nursing homes, or they are care support workers, or they’re auxiliary nurses… and there’s a lot of men who are security guards in hospitals, and care places. And they, too, haven’t got the PPE. So we have to think of the fact that once we talk about them with health problems, they are actually part of the workforce in this country.”

She said that in order to protect the whole population, the government needs to have a plan in place to look at the impact on different ethnic groups — and she said they should draw on support from within those communities.

“I’m happy to help them,” she added. “And there are lots of people who would help them, they don’t have that knowledge and understanding. They’ve got to get out there and do this.”

In the UK, Somalis have gradually been noticing more cases of the coronavirus and more deaths within their community.

While there are no official statistics yet on the impact of the virus on Somalis in the UK, Dr Marwa Jama, a 28-year-old general surgery trainee based in Sheffield, told BuzzFeed News that the anecdotal evidence suggested the population here had been badly hit.

“There is some evidence BME is more affected but no official numbers are available yet,” she said.

“This could have to do with a lot of factors that are mostly socioeconomic; more underlying health conditions such as diabetes, more people in one household, living in bigger cities, not being able to self distance or stop work before the actual lockdown started.”

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Farah Farzana

Farah Farzana, a junior doctor working in Greater Manchester, told BuzzFeed News that some patients who do not speak English are struggling in hospital without their relatives at their bedside to translate.

“I’m not seeing as many translators coming into hospitals at the moment especially out of hours,” she said. “I completely understand that because we’re reducing the number of visitors”

She added: “With coronavirus, you essentially can become very hypoxic which means lacking adequate oxygen, that can often lead to delirium. When these patients become delirious they often forget even the little bit of English they know and tend to really struggle.”

“These patients usually rely on the family members to translate for them, but given the current circumstances you can’t have them present,” she added. “We try our best to communicate using various methods but sometimes it can be hard. For the last two weeks, I have seen a lot of patients admitted into hospital with such barriers and it has been quite tough.”

Farzana said she realised one patient was not complying with his treatment because he did not understand any of the medical advice.

“When I went to see that man, he wasn’t complying with any of the treatment, but I soon realised it was mostly because he didn’t understand anything that was being communicated to him,” she said.

“He wasn’t aware why not having the oxygen was detrimental to his health. When I spoke to him in his own language I managed to explain the importance of his treatment and it helped calm him down massively. He immediately put his trust on me and was very grateful. I think it did make a difference and I was able to provide him with the care and treatment he needed.”

Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

Manchester, England

Farzana said that a separate concern is the number of frontline NHS staff from minority ethnic backgrounds who are dying from coronavirus, which she says is an issue that needs urgent attention.

“A lot of my friends are also junior doctors,” she told BuzzFeed News, “and we were actually talking about how in the BAME community, BAME healthcare workers have unfortunately been affected by the virus and many have died, and this highlights how the virus can affect anyone, and just how many healthcare workers in the NHS come from ethnic minority backgrounds.”

As the impact of the coronavirus is felt across the country, communities have been stepping up to help each other.

One Somali organisation, Coffee Afrik, which is based in London, has been assisting Somalis with food and medicine deliveries. Abdi Hassan told BuzzFeed News: “At the moment we have delivered 126 packages of food and 60 of that is medicine, so collecting medicine and of the 30 have serious mental health, and half of the 30 are people who have no contact with anybody the whole week.”

Coffee Afrik CIC
@CoffeeAfrique

We collected 5 meds today, called 12 vulnerable Somali women. Food deliveries on Monday. NW/West London are seeing #covid impact on Somali lives. Urge our brethren to check in on this & community orgs to question these leaders. We pray for these lives, May Allah help us all.

02:09 PM – 03 Apr 2020

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In Blackburn, in Lancashire, a team of volunteers are on hand to help out families who lose loved ones to the virus.

Members of the town’s Muslim community fear the impact that the virus will have there. In the north-west, numbers of cases are behind London and the West Midlands — but they are increasing.

“We had the first Muslim burial on Saturday, three burials yesterday from COVID-19, and we’ve got another one potentially tomorrow,” Imran Patel from the Blackburn Muslim Burial Society told BuzzFeed News. “So this is now starting to happen, all of our fears are starting to take place.”

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Blackburn, England

The emergency service, run by volunteers, allows for bodies to be buried as soon as they can after death, in line with religious practices. Patel and his team have been kitted out with full PPE including hazmat suits, donated by community members, and they are taking care of burials while families must stay away.

It is difficult for many, not to be able to see their loved one before they are buried, Patel said, but they are doing what they can: “What we try and do, is try and do a FaceTime, a WhatsApp video call, so that they can actually see the deceased just before,” he said.

Patel fears that as the impact of the virus will soon be felt more deeply in Blackburn than it has been so far.

“The fear is,” he said, “I always say that Ramandan’s here and from last Ramadan to this, who have we got left? And next year it’s going to be devastation to be honest, to think how many people we’ve lost within our community, and who’s left from our community, and that’s the fear.”

One big issue for minority groups has been the lack of reliable information about the coronavirus in community languages — and this is another area where volunteers are coming forward to fill the gap.

Last week, the government published copies of publicity in some community languages. However, critics said this had come too late, and that the messages had not filtered through to communities. Some key languages — such as Arabic and Mandarin — appear to be missing.

Jama, the general surgery trainee, told BuzzFeed News that the lack of information in Somali had led to confusion, with some people believing misinformation from WhatsApp.

She said: “The main updates via official channels are all in English, there is very little verifiable information in Somali available. Furthermore there is lots of ‘fake news’ circulating on WhatsApp which is very counterproductive if you also don’t have full access to the official channels or understanding from official channels.”

The British Somali Medical Association has translated COVID-19 information and created videos on best practices that have since gone viral within the community.


View this photo on Instagram

Instagram: @askbsma

Mahmood told BuzzFeed News that she hadn’t seen any government literature in different languages reach her communities — but that people were stepping up to produce their own.

“There is a bit of tailored advice from within the community,” she said, “I’ve seen some faith groups and others put out messages in different languages, Syeeda Warsi did a message in Urdu for example, so people are trying to get the message out.”

Shikta Das said misinformation was a huge problem, especially on WhatsApp.

“I am part of my own South Asian community WhatsApp group for all women,” she said. “There’s a lot of misinformation around us. And being an epidemiologist, I just had to take this challenge on myself to pretty much remove the fake news and misinformation.

“I think a good example is drinking hot water. A lot of people started drinking hot water because somebody from India sent a WhatsApp saying, oh, drinking hot water will kill the virus. So literally you have, as an epidemiologist, to take a stand and tell them that actually, it’s not been proven, there is no relation with hot water and the virus.”

Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment

Northwick Park Hospital

Also bridging the information gap, with translations in 43 languages and counting is the organisation Doctors of the World.

Ellen Waters, the director of development at Doctors of the World, said it all came together after they had spoken to the Department of Health and were told there would be no official translations from the government about the coronavirus.

Her organisation, along with the British Red Cross, Clearvoice, and Migrant Help, started with what was then their first batch of 20 languages and shared the leaflets on a Google Drive. Now the translation documents have been downloaded by more than 30,000 people.

She said: “We even did the work on the English language, obviously there’s a lot of information there and quite complex.

“We’ve had comments back from various different health care practitioners saying that even the English one is getting highly used because it’s easier to read than the information that is currently available through the NHS website and so on.”

Back in Tower Hamlets, Rakib said helping other people in his community was helping him to deal with his grief when so many people close to him were being affected by the virus.

“At this time of such unimaginable loss and suffering, it’s hard to think straight and to be able to know what to do with all this grief, worry and anger,” he told BuzzFeed News.

“We must all find a way to use it to refocus our efforts into helping others and being useful or else we allow this thing to consume us.”

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Hannah Al-Othman is a political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Hannah Al-Othman at hannah.al-othman@buzzfeed.com.

Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Scientists Advising The UK Government On The Coronavirus Fear Boris Johnson’s Team Is Using Them As “Human Shields”

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April 22, 2020, 18:03 GMT

Alex Wickham

Political Editor

Katie J.M. Baker

BuzzFeed News Investigative Reporter

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Some of the scientists advising the UK government on its handling of the coronavirus pandemic fear they will be used by ministers as “human shields” at a future public inquiry, and they have privately discussed how to protect themselves from any attempted blame game, BuzzFeed News can reveal.

Members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and other experts who advise them, have become nervous about senior ministers, including first secretary Dominic Raab and chancellor Rishi Sunak, deflecting criticism this week by saying they had been “guided by the scientific and medical advice”.

Some SAGE advisers are worried that they and their chair, chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance, as well as the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his deputy, Jenny Harries, will be held responsible by Boris Johnson’s political team for the UK taking longer than other European countries to enforce social distancing in March, if this decision is found to have led to excess deaths in Britain.

Ministers’ claims to be “guided by the science” were also problematic — because in reality the science of this crisis had been “riddled with doubt, uncertainty, and debate”, according to Professor Robert Dingwall, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, which advises SAGE.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Raab responded to accusations by Labour leader Keir Starmer that the government had been “slow” to act on lockdown, testing, and protective equipment by insisting: “We have been guided by the scientific advice, the chief scientific adviser, the chief medical officer, every step along the way.”

At Monday’s daily press conference, Sunak answered a similar question by saying ministers had taken “the right decisions at the right time, according to the scientific advice we received”.

Following a Sunday Times story lambasting Johnson’s handling of the crisis, a senior Whitehall source told BuzzFeed News that the prime minister and his political team had only acted in accordance with what they were being told by Whitty, Vallance, and SAGE, and that it would have been irresponsible for Number 10 to overrule them.

On the key task of ensuring NHS capacity was not breached, the advice from Whitty, Vallance, and SAGE was a success, they said, stressing that the experts retained the full support of the government and that the measures implemented by the UK had likely prevented tens of thousands of more deaths.

But it was right that genuine questions would be asked of the experts at a later date over areas where the UK may have fallen short, they said, such as the speed with which the government introduced social distancing, and the controversial advice from Harries that mass testing was “not appropriate” for Britain.

This emerging line of defence has concerned members of SAGE in recent days, with morale on the committee becoming “low” as government scientists began to suspect that ministers and Johnson’s aides were using them as “human shields” to insulate themselves from blame, a SAGE adviser told BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity.

Stressing the advisory nature of the group, they said that decisions were ultimately for ministers, a point repeated several times by Whitty at Wednesday evening’s Downing Street press conference.

Delegating decision-making to scientific experts was bad government because the ultimate decision on the UK’s overarching strategy — whether to introduce draconian lockdown measures or pursue a looser plan based on herd immunity — was inherently political, they argued.

Dingwall told BuzzFeed News that the public should be sceptical of any claim by ministers to have “followed the science”.

“The real world of science is riddled with doubt, uncertainty, and debate rather than a neat and compelling logic that points in a single direction,” Dingwall said.

He argued that the job of SAGE was to provide ministers with a set of options and a cost-benefit analysis, and then it was up for ministers to make decisions regarding which scientists and scientific arguments to endorse.

In March, BuzzFeed News reported concerns that Johnson’s chief aide, Dominic Cummings, had effectively “outsourced” the government’s decision-making process to a small group of experts.

“The million-dollar question you have to answer is: Was the role of SAGE as a group of advisers respected or over-relied upon?” the first SAGE adviser said.

In response to the claim that experts were being used as human shields, a Number 10 source said the government would protect them from “unfair criticism”.

“Government scientists are playing a critical role in the fight against coronavirus. Protecting them from unfair criticism and worse is one of the reasons we have resisted pressure to name all the members of SAGE,” they said.

Alex Wickham is a senior reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alex Wickham at alex.wickham@buzzfeed.com.

Katie Baker is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Katie J.M. Baker at katie.baker@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

A Welsh Politician Has Accidentally Revealed The Dangers Of Failing To Mute On A Zoom Meeting

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April 22, 2020, 17:38 GMT

Alan White

BuzzFeed News Reporter

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This is Vaughan Gething, the health minister for Wales.

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

This is a shocked Welsh politician, taking part in a Zoom call.

Rob Osborne
@robosborneitv

My favourite one…

03:37 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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And another one…

Rob Osborne
@robosborneitv

03:37 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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…and another one.

Rob Osborne
@robosborneitv

03:37 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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And this is why they’re shocked.

Paul Brand
@PaulBrandITV

“What the **** is the matter with her?!”

Welsh Health Minister illustrates the dangers of not muting the mic as he slags off his Labour colleague on Welsh Assembly video conference 😳

04:24 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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Yes, Gething did the one thing all of us who are working from home are frankly petrified of doing. He forgot to leave his mic on mute during a virtual session of the Welsh Assembly and was caught swearing about one of his Labour colleagues, Jenny Rathbone, the member for Cardiff Central.

Cue the inevitable calls for his resignation from opposition politicians.

Adrian Masters
@adrianmasters84

1/3 Plaid Cymru isn’t amused by Health minister’s zoom blooper, calling for him to resign: ‘he has not only failed over the last month several times, he has failed to acknowledge that he has failed and aggressively attacks even those witjin his own party who question him.

03:39 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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And the inevitable awkward apology.

Vaughan Gething AM
@vaughangething

I’m obviously embarrassed about my comments at the end of questions today. I’ve sent a message apologising and offered to speak to @JennyRathbone if she wishes to do so. It is an unwelcome distraction at a time of unprecedented challenge.

04:33 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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In summary:

Alain Tolhurst
@Alain_Tolhurst

@vaughangething

03:50 PM – 22 Apr 2020

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Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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This Photographer Captured Sydney’s Most Iconic Beaches Completely Deserted And The Shots Are Eerily Beautiful

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April 21, 2020, 04:58 GMT

Julia Willing

BuzzFeed Staff

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As a Sydneysider myself, I think it’s fair to say that our dear city has struggled with the concept of social distancing.

James D. Morgan / Getty Images

Particularly the Eastern Suburbs, of which I am also a resident. 🤦🤦🤦

However, after pictures of Bondi Beach absolutely covered in visitors went viral in March, local councils reacted swiftly — shutting all major beaches in the Eastern Suburbs and in regions across Sydney.

Jenny Evans / Getty Images, Peter Parks / Getty Images

Fast-forward four weeks and the beaches now tell a very different story.

Salty Wings | North Bondi, Bronte, Bondi Beach. / Via saltywings.com.au

Co-founder and photographer of Salty Wings, Jampal Williamson, took to the skies to capture Sydney’s most iconic and popular Eastern Suburb beaches in the wake of the government’s lockdown.

Salty Wings | Bondi Beach, before and after. / Via saltywings.com.au

The collection is juxtaposed with photos taken prior to self-isolation — to demonstrate the stark difference between these beaches before and after Sydneysiders were encouraged to stay home.

“The entire flight felt like a dream,” Jampal told BuzzFeed Australia. “To see Sydney’s beaches deserted like this was surreal and not something I have ever seen before. I was photographing them in their natural habitat. It was beautiful.”

Salty Wings | Icebergs, before and after. / Via saltywings.com.au

“Social distancing has been an interesting time for all of us…But to be honest, seeing what others are going through around the world, I feel so grateful to be in a safe country like Australia.”

Salty Wings | Tamarama Beach, before and after. / Via saltywings.com.au

“And I can handle the social distancing if it’s saving lives.”

“Although I have marvelled at seeing these beaches bare, I’m also yearning for them to reopen and for everyone to enjoy them again.”

Salty Wings | Coogee Beach / Via saltywings.com.au

“I hope this time comes soon and when it does, I look forward to photographing the moment!”

As it stands, major beaches in the Eastern Suburbs and across the Sydney region remain closed in an effort to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Salty Wings | Tamarama Beach / Via saltywings.com.au

So please, as much as you might miss the beach, stay home, stay safe and support your local communities.

You can keep up-to-date with all of our most recent coverage of the coronavirus here.

Revealed: The UK’s “Three Stage” Exit Strategy To Ease The Coronavirus Lockdown

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April 18, 2020, 07:46 GMT

Alex Wickham

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Ministers and government scientists are drawing up what they hope will be a “three stage” approach to easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK in phases between May and July, sources with direct knowledge of the plan told BuzzFeed News.

The strategy will depend heavily on significant improvements in infection rate data over the next three weeks, Britain dramatically increasing its testing and contact tracing capacity, tens of millions of people downloading a new NHS app, the efficacy of antiviral drugs at reducing symptoms of COVID-19, and strict measures remaining in place for elderly and vulnerable people until a vaccine is found.

As ministers publicly remained tight-lipped about a so-called exit strategy for lockdown — and some in cabinet complained they were being kept out of the loop on Downing Street’s plans — BuzzFeed News can reveal:

  • A “best-case scenario” being worked on by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) hopes to end lockdown restrictions for certain nonessential shops and industries in the short term, from early to mid-May.

  • Some social distancing measures could then gradually be relaxed in the medium term, in June and July, eventually leading to the reopening of pubs and restaurants towards the end of summer.

  • Long-term “shielding” for elderly and vulnerable people could mean limits on people seeing their parents or grandparents over 70 for as long as 12 to 18 months until a vaccine is found.

  • The timeline relies on SAGE scientists calculating how many new COVID-19 infections per day the UK’s test and trace capabilities can manage and an “impossible” political decision for Downing Street on how many deaths per day they are willing to accept in order to be able to lift some restrictions before there is a vaccine.

This week, health secretary Matt Hancock and other senior ministers insisted that it was too early to talk about an exit strategy from the lockdown, partly because government aides think that doing so will discourage people from following the rules in the meantime.

The phrase “exit strategy” itself is also disliked by some Downing Street aides because it creates the impression we are close to a return to normality — when in reality some social distancing measures will have to stay in place indefinitely until a vaccine is found.

Privately, though, work on an exit plan is taking place at pace. There is increasing optimism in Whitehall that, although the UK death rate is still higher than those of many other countries across Europe, and the NHS faces continuing problems over the supply of protective equipment for frontline staff, the peak of the coronavirus crisis in this country will not be as devastating as feared by modellers a month ago.

Forecasts by government scientists had envisaged the NHS facing a monumental task to not breach capacity at the peak, with the possibility of the health service running out of intensive care beds and ventilators, leading to tens of thousands of extra deaths.

As Britain approaches the peak, ministers are now quietly confident that this disaster scenario will not happen. Part of the reason is that it is now believed fewer people have contracted the virus than the experts expected and that the nature of the virus itself is different from their initial understanding, with fewer patients requiring ventilation.

Jacob King / Getty Images

“The NHS has done it,” one minister told BuzzFeed News. “This has been an appalling few weeks, but we appear to have got through it without the worst happening.”

No exact plan to relax the lockdown has been finalised, government sources told BuzzFeed News, because it was too early to take decisions without knowing if the transmission rate of the virus, “the R number”, was coming down to a manageable level, and whether proposals to test and trace potential cases were viable. If either of these did not go to plan, restrictions would have to be extended again or reintroduced at a later date, they warned.

There are also a range of different options for how the UK could lift the restrictions, affecting different industries and age groups in different ways, based on as yet unavailable data. One source said the permutations at this stage were so varied and dependent on nonexistent data that they could not give a definitive picture of what life will look like in the months ahead.

However, ministers and government scientists are working on a broader three-stage strategy to ease some restrictions over the next three months, multiple sources familiar with the plan told BuzzFeed News.

The first stage, in what one minister said was a “best-case scenario”, would begin with schools and some businesses reopening in early to mid-May in order to get the economy moving again. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is determined to allow nonessential retail shops to reopen as soon as possible, as well as warehouses for businesses such as Next, which closed its operations last month.

The Treasury also wants to let as much of the manufacturing and construction industries get back to work as possible while encouraging proper hygiene and social distancing in the workplace.

People would be allowed out of their homes for nonessential shopping in this scenario, but most social distancing measures would remain in place. Some ministers are lobbying Downing Street to partially relax some other of the harshest rules in this first stage, such as those stopping people from sitting in parks or taking more than one form of exercise a day.

Commuters could be encouraged to wear masks on public transport if an ongoing review of scientific advice finds them to be effective at preventing the spread of the disease.

There are concerns in government that this is another area Britain has been slower to get on top of than other countries. The Department of Health told BuzzFeed News that no procurement of masks for the general public was yet taking place, and that it was still focusing on buying masks for NHS and care workers.

The second stage would see more businesses reopening and further social distancing measures lifted, and ministers hope this can start to take place by the end of May or beginning of June. This would mean most people returning to work and small gatherings being permitted. Later in the summer, the government hopes to be able to open pubs and restaurants.

SAGE scientists are also looking at lifting restrictions by age, raising the prospect that people under a certain age threshold could be able to go back to their offices sooner, organise social gatherings, or go to the pub — but those above the limit cannot.

Ministers and aides believe the development of new treatments for COVID-19 and the repurposing of existing antiviral drugs could have an important role in allowing the UK to move to stage two. Aides have been optimistically sharing news in their WhatsApp groups this week that a drug called remdesivir has shown signs of alleviating symptoms in patients in the US. There is now increasing optimism in Whitehall that by summer antiviral drugs could be used in Britain to give coronavirus patients a better chance of recovery and reduce death rates.

The third stage is the long-term final “exit” from the coronavirus crisis, when it is defeated once and for all and life returns to normal for the whole nation.

Government scientists have told ministers that there are only two routes to fully beating the virus: developing a vaccine, or the controversial “herd immunity” approach whereby a majority of the population get the disease, recover and can return to normal life.

Neither is a realistic prospect any time soon, with a vaccine thought to be a year to 18 months away — although scientists at the University of Oxford claim they could produce one by September — and doubts about how long immunity lasts. Until one of those two outcomes is achieved, the elderly and vulnerable must continue to be “shielded” with as many of the social distancing measures remaining in place as possible, a minister told BuzzFeed News.

Government figures are concerned that the public has not fully grasped the prospect of an effective indefinite lockdown for those over 70 and vulnerable groups. “‘You can’t see granny for 18 months’ is going to be an extremely unpopular and difficult policy to enforce,” the minister said.

Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

How and when the UK can move through the three exit stages depends on various factors, the most crucial being whether the government can successfully increase its (currently extremely limited) capacity to test for the virus and trace people who may have come into contact with it. Privately, some Whitehall colleagues expect Hancock to miss his target of 100,000 tests per day by “a week or two”.

Whitehall insiders point to several areas of concern. Hancock is prioritising an NHS app that would use Bluetooth technology to flag up on people’s phones if they have been in contact with someone with coronavirus symptoms and tell them to get tested. But government aides believe that in order for the app to be effective, it needs to be downloaded by 60% of the population, a task that some fear will be extremely difficult to pull off.

Officials are looking at how to enforce use of the app, potentially even requiring people by law to have it on their phones if they want any lifting of lockdown restrictions to apply to them.

There are also worries that the UK has again been too slow to hire an army of contact tracers that will be necessary to complement the app. This week, BuzzFeed News reported on concerns that the app will not work unless it is accompanied by mass testing and human-led contact tracing, areas where Britain is currently falling short.

The efficacy of test and trace as an exit strategy is also dependent on the rate of new COVID-19 infections, the government’s scientists have told ministers. Put simply, test and trace is not viable if more people are being infected each day than the health system has capacity to test and trace.

The government’s target of 100,000 tests per day means the rate of new infections would likely have to be in the low thousands for sufficient testing and tracing to be able to take place. On Friday, there were 5,559 confirmed new coronavirus cases in the UK, with many more likely getting the virus but untested. If the rate of new infections surpasses the capacity to test and trace, the government would be unable to lift lockdown restrictions for fear the virus would again become untestable, untraceable and uncontrollable.

The hardest decision for Downing Street is that it has to ultimately look at the data gathered by scientists on the rate of new infections, divide it by a hundred to come up with an estimate for likely new deaths, then take a political decision on whether that number is low enough for them to justify relaxing some of the lockdown measures.

For example, if there are 1,000 new infections taking place per day, at a mortality rate of around 1%, that is likely to mean around 10 new deaths from COVID-19 over the following two weeks.

Regardless of how well set up the UK is on testing and tracing, Number 10 will have to make a judgment call on whether keeping the British economy alive justifies lifting some restrictions and tolerating those deaths. This decision was described to BuzzFeed News by one minister as “impossible”.

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Alex Wickham is a senior reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alex Wickham at alex.wickham@buzzfeed.com.

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