by Yaymara Villaverde Marcé // Cuban News Agency
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Guantanamo, 11 abr (ACN) After the heroic medical army, today on the first front of battle against COVID-19, there is also a commendable rear guard of professionals and essential workers, food producers, dependents, carriers, and journalists, recorder or camera in hand always present in times of contingency.
Every profession entails sacrifice, yes, and communicating in times of global health crisis a risk quota, a reality that challenges media institutions to unleash all the reporting and creative capacity of their journalists. They have reorganized their routines to ensure the safety of the guild and the time to inform the population in a timely and transparent manner.
We have that responsibility to our people and humanity-as Taimi Fernández, president of glove journalists, tells it, this is our duty to avoid misinformation. More so in this difficult context where accurate guidance is needed, from reliable and scientific sources, to raise public perceptions of risk and encouraging preventive behavior.
Information is a vital tool, a way to fight the new coronavirus and its spread-points out. The responsible press must take advantage of the influence that the media exert on the collective consciousness, with reliable and contrastable data that cut the wings to rumors and false news that only generate confusion and hinder an effective response.
Consequent with the decisive measure of social isolation and confinement, the Cuban media has redesigned its daily dynamics, strengthened the teleworking modality to reduce the influx of professionals and technicians, and have exempted those with chronic suffering from risks which make them vulnerable in this epidemic scenario.
This is how Mabel Pozo, director of the radio station CMKS Guantanamera, where today the necessary health and protection measures are taken. She works with the essential staff, programming was adapted to the context shee points ou, and this and the views of the people are monitored by specialists, depending on which deliveries move.
Similar strategies assume reporters and technicians of the newspaper and provincial television. There, several take advantage of remote work, in an informative reality in which mobile journalism intensifies, taking advantage of the potential of smartphones and basic technologies to generate content and products communicative for online platforms.
Lisván Lescaille, in front of Telecentro Solvisión, tells us that his medium reduced active staff-as a first step to protect vulnerable groups – adjusted the billboard by prioritizing three information magazines with the theme COVID-19 and invited experts, and working groups were created both on the streets and from homes, through social media.
Ariel Soler, Head of Information of the weekly “Venceremos”, spoke of vital hypermedial work in this context spoke about the journalistic exercise in which their reporters are inserted, six with corporate mobile phones and others with the Internet in their homes, with whom the editorial board of the journal organizes the work by phone, giving special follow-up to the epidemiological situation.
And nothing more revealing than the opinion of the people regarding this work, like that of the septuagenarian Guantanamera Dalia Aguilar, of those sharp to which no one makes a story, who told the ACN that no report from the national press is lost and local, “because warfare well warned does not kill soldier”, and thanks the professionals in that sector for their credibility.
Last March Ricardo Ronquillo, President of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), sent recognition to the professionals of the country’s public media system, for the extraordinary informative work in the confrontation of the global pandemic, urged to join this campaign to all communication platforms, and take institutional measures to protect the guild.
Journalists are close to the first line of battle against the disease, because they have to report what is happening around it in Cuba, so it is important to the media to ensure its protection, he stressed.
These are times to act quickly and informative transparency said Ronquillo in a meeting of the expanded presidency of the organization and emphasized-” UPEC is not demobilized, on the contrary, we must now unleash all the creative capacity to make visible to public opinion, national and international, the work of the media”.
By Yurisander Guevara
April 8, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Conspiracy theories are generally harmless phenomena that rely on circumstantial issues to generate questions that often go unanswered. Thus, they sow doubt about a topic and generate debates that, in this age of the Internet everywhere, become endless.
However, when one of these theories causes consequences in the social fabric, it can already be described as dangerous. This is what is happening right now in the United Kingdom, where several telephone poles with 5G transmitters have been burned in some cities. These facts that are linked to an evil rumor that is spreading like wildfire in the networks, taking advantage of the social hysteria generated by SARS-CoV-2.
According to the “conspirators”, the deployment of the fifth generation of mobile data transmission technology, or 5G, is linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the burning of transmitters, a sign of the panic caused by the epidemic.
Rumors and conspiracy theories about a link between the launch of 5G and the spread of the coronavirus have spread mainly through social networks. There are groups on Facebook and Nextdoor, where thousands of members repeat false and misleading claims that 5G is supposedly harmful.
The theory claims that the new coronavirus originated in Wuhan because the Chinese city had recently launched 5G. Supposedly it has now spread to other cities that also use this technology.
It is the hottest hoax on social networks these days, after another one was dismantled, claiming that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created for obscure geopolitical purposes. In this last case, the theory falls apart with a study entitled The Proximal Origin of the Coronavirus, published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Research compares the ribonucleic acid sequence of this microorganism with that of other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, and bases its conclusions on the characteristics of a protein called spike. This spike is found in the external envelope of the virus and has a sort of hook through which it attaches to human cells. This “ability” of the pathogen is essential in its ability to infect people, one of its most damaging characteristics.
And it is so perfect, according to the study, that “it is most likely the product of natural selection (…) strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of self-serving manipulation”. In the same sense, and even more categorically, researcher Kristian Andersen, from Scripps Research Institute, in Florida, United States, stated in La Repubblica, an Italian publication: “Confronting the generic data available today on the various types of coronavirus, we can resolutely state that SARS-CoV-2 is the result of natural processes”.
In the case of the theory linking 5G to the new coronavirus, there is no more than investigating the properties of this new technology, so-called because it is the fifth generation of mobile phone networks, designed to multiply the connection speed of our portable devices tenfold.
Those who defend the theory claim that 5G weakens the immune system, emitting harmful radiation and therefore facilitating the entry of the coronavirus into the body. They also add that viruses use radio waves to communicate.
The first “argument” collapses when we look at the radio spectrum. At the low-frequency end of the spectrum, we find the radio waves used by 5G. Therefore, this technology does not produce ionizing radiation and does not damage human DNA, which other frequencies such as X-rays or ultraviolet light, responsible for causing diseases such as cancer, do.
According to the AS newspaper, “radiation emitted by radio waves is at a similar level to that produced by televisions and natural light. It is true that this new generation is a bit above its predecessors in this type of emissions. It is also true that, according to Ofcom – the UK’s telecommunications regulator – the maximum it can generate is 66 times below the safety limit.
The Department of Health in England adds that 5G “should have no impact on public health” and the World Health Organization has included 5G under heading 2B of carcinogens. That is, among those not proven to be capable of producing cancer. According to this classification, it would be as potentially carcinogenic as coffee.
The second argument is pure fantasy, while there are no studies that point in that direction. There are, however, that admit that this communication through radio waves could occur between bacteria (in no case between different viruses). For example, there is a study by a group led by Allan Widom at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, whose conclusions have been discussed by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Despite all the evidence that disproves this crude conspiracy theory linking 5G to SARS-CoV-2, UK territories such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Melling have been the scene of cell tower fires in recent days.
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport tweeted that “there is absolutely no credible evidence” of a link to the conspiracy theory, while commercial agency Mobile UK said such rumours and conspiracy theories were “worrying”.
UK telecoms operators now believe the attacks undermine the nation’s security. According to a tweet from Vodafone’s chief executive officer there, “this is now a matter of national security. The police and anti-terrorist authorities are investigating.
There have even been reports of harassment of telecommunications workers as they deployed fibre optic cables, as witnessed by a video also broadcast on Twitter by a BBC reporter.
The truth is that Iran, for example, is among the nations most affected by the new coronavirus, and there is not a single 5G tower there. There’s lots of evidence that dismantle this misleading theory, but the emotional fragility begins to make a dent. 5G is not a factor in its spread. Globalization is. And once the virus enters a territory, social isolation is the most effective measure to prevent its spread.
For our readers, who today are contributing to the great global battle against SARS-CoV-2 by staying at home, here is some advice: follow only official information from authorities about the pandemic and do not contribute to the networks that expand the reach of false news. We already see how harmful and dangerous it can be to feed on unverified facts, especially when the situation we are living in requires poise and a lot of common sense.
By Hugo Garcia firstname.lastname@example.org
April 9, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Jack Gaetan Joseph Villiers is a Frenchman who is miraculously alive. It’s as simple as that. But the miracle has also come about because of the proven professionalism of Cuban health.
“This is the first time I’ve seen the blue of the sky after almost 20 days of admission,” he said in a choppy voice from the wheelchair in which he was being transferred to the ambulance that would take him to Havana.
This man with a graying beard conveys with his clear eyes the immense gratitude that no resources, no tiredness, no sleep were spared to save him.
“But I feel good already. When all this is over, we will return to Cuba,” he whispered in his deficient Spanish as he said goodbye to the bus at the Mario Muñoz Monroy Hospital’s isolation center, becoming the sixth confirmed positive patient of the COVID-19 to be discharged in this city.
“Now I can confirm what my brother, who is a doctor, said about the capacity of Cuban doctors, who have specialized in fighting pandemics and diseases like these,” the Frenchman stressed to the Matanzas television and radio media.
Dr. Juan Carlos Martin Tirado, director of the hospital, confirms that this is another achievement of Cuban medicine, because this patient had many of the expected complications at his 72 years of age, including heart disease, hypertension and a major underlying diabetes mellitus.
Martín Tirado praised the delivery of the multidisciplinary team of intensive care, which worked day and night to save the patient.
April 12, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Beatriz Rodriguez Sandeliz is 30 years old. She is a First Grade Specialist in Pediatrics and head of the Respiratory Service of the Children’s Hospital “José Luis Miranda”, in Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Dr. Beatriz formed, in the beginning, together with Dr. Marbin Machado Díaz, also from the Children’s Hospital and Drs. Lissy Pérez Leal and Richard Godoy León, from the “Manuel Fajardo” Military Hospital, the team of eight pediatricians who, at present, attend to infants who are contacts, suspects or infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
“If they knew how hard it is to see a 12-year-old girl crying because her PCR has tested positive, we wouldn’t be so irresponsible and would stay home. It hurts to see a helpless child cry because we have not been consistent and have failed to protect those who are the hope of the world,” says this young doctor with only six years of training, three of them as a pediatrician.
(Texts and photos by Yudith María Delgado Rodríguez and Félix Alexis Correa Álvarez)