58 318 = COVID-19 = Vietnam

(courtesy of Na Zhu et al., & John Huotari)

58 318 names appear on the Washington Wall, those who died or remain missing. Others are excluded, at the request of family. And 14 are clerical errors: they survived the war.

https://www.nps.gov/vive/learn/historyculture/vvmoverview.htm & https://books.google.com/books?id=DFXOaOQE-5gC (Patrick Hagopian, The Vietnam War in American Memory: Veterans, Memorials, and the Politics of Healing, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst), 2009, page 474, note 44)

This figure is slightly different from the 58 220 provided by the Department for Perpetual Peace & Freedom, the DOD.

https://dcas.dmdc.osd.mil/dcas/pages/report_vietnam_sum.xhtml (Defense Casualty Analysis System, maintained by the Defense Manpower Data Center)

War data are notoriously inexact, & not always made public. Similarly, problems arise in attributing death to a new disease. Nevertheless, trusted sources say the last 58 001 COVID-19 deaths have occurred since Sa21Mar. So not decades or years, but 38 days, 5½ weeks, at the rate of >10 001 deaths a week. Not exactly the message coming daily from the Bleach House.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html & https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-daily-covid-deaths?country=USA (hover over the datum point)



In Vietnam, the highest annual US deaths was 16 899, in the momentous year of 1968. That works out at 47 a day. Just last weekend, COVID-19 daily death was ~2 001 (three-day rolling average). That’s a difference of x~40. To repeat: the recent daily death rate for COVID-19 is x40 that for the worst year in Vietnam – for Amerikans that is.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus, did the 1968 work of the ‘VC’ in just the last eight days (Tu21 thru Tu28Apr). The shortest time it’s taken is six days, from each of M13, Tu14, & W15Apr.

https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics#date & https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-covid-deaths-3-day-average (hover over a datum point)



Amerikans were not the only foreigners who died defending US capitalist imperialism: there were also New Zealanders, Australians, South Koreans, Taiwanese, Filipinos, Thais, Laotians, & Cambodians. A different sort of International Brigade, one could say. LBJ even asked Harold Wilson, the Labour Party prime minister of the UK, to join the invasion; a right-wing social democrat who leant to the centre, he quickly & firmly declined the offer. The ‘special relationship’ isn’t as solidarian as usually touted.



And the invisible in Constitution Gardens, the presence of absence? Estimates vary, & the wider context is the maintenance & break-up of French Indochina, & its aftermath. Think of 4 000 001. Then think again, & feel. Then act.

4000001 / 58318 ≃ 68.6 ≃ 70

. . . 1 USA ≃ 70 VN . . .

. . . for every Amerikan, 70 Vietnamese . . .

https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/336/7659/1482.full.pdf (co-authored by Chris Murray, at Seattle’s Washington University, the COVID-19 modeller continually cited by Fauci & Birx).

Another Vietnam connection with COVID-19 concerns Jonathan Van-Tam, a frequent official spokesman for the UK government. He’s the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, & former influenza & vaccine man with SmithKline Beecham, Roche, & Sanofi. It just so happens that his grandfather was the second-longest serving prime minister of the 1949-55 French puppet state in Vietnam before the US took over, & his uncle was the only head of that state’s armed forces.



Daniel Borgström is a dogged KPFA Local Station Board listener-delegate. He’s fond, & rightly so, of a personal vignette. It’s striking like a haiku, & there’s no better advocacy for Pacifica:

When people ask me why I joined the Marine Corps (at age 18, back in 1959), I tell them, “Because where I grew up there was no KPFA or Pacifica Radio affiliate.”

2Oct2017, http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/2017/10/kpfas-antiwar-voice.html


The pics:

• Images of SARS-CoV-2 virions (complete virus) & particles: Na Zhu et al., ‘A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China 2019’, New England Journal of Medicine, 382, 8, 20Feb2020, p. 731 (e-published 24Jan2020 – article updated 29Jan). The quasi-spherical virion has a diameter of 60-140nm, nanometres (pp. 730-1). Think of a millimetre, mm; divide it into a thousand, that’s a micrometre, μm (formerly termed a micron); within this, end-to-end, one can fit ~7-16 virions.


A digression on the matter of size. Can a SARS-CoV-2 virion pass through the filter of a N95 respirator? It’s very unlikely. (I haven’t seen a paper estimating what proportion gets thru, let alone, crucially, what’s the minimum viral load sufficient for infection.) The N95’s specification is having a 95% probability of stopping a particle of ≥0.3μm (300nm). (N95 = neutralises 95%; its European counterpart is FFP2, filtering face piece, which has a 94% rating.) But as the virion is less than half this size, even a quarter, won’t it sail thru? No. And the reason is perhaps surprising.

The rating standard of a respirator (more precisely its filter) is in terms of a particle of 0.3μm for a crucial reason: it’s the MPPS, the most penetrating particle size, in conditions other than a vacuum. And that’s the clue: Brownian motion. The virion, or the particle it’s on or the droplet it’s on or in, collides with air atoms or molecules, even before it reaches the respirator. And the filter is multi-layered: its barrier isn’t a simple sieve. It means any penetrating pathway is tortuous. So for the combination of air & filter, particles <0.3μm are largely diffused, & those >0.3μm are largely blocked. It just so happens that in air, the smallest sized particle avoiding Brownian motion is ~0.3μm: this makes it the MPPS for an air filter. And that’s why the rating standard is pitched where it is.

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170005166.pdf (May2016; NASA research paper, albeit not independently peer-reviewed), & https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/409903O/respiratory-protection-against-biohazards.pdf (Apr2020; research paper by 3M (surprise, surprise), again not independently peer-reviewed); https://fastlifehacks.com/n95-vs-ffp/ (3Feb2020, updated 22Apr; dodgy-sounding URL, but useful), & https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/what-is-pm0-3-why-important/

Windrock Coal Miners Memorial Wall, Union Valley Baptist Church, Windrock Road, Windrock, Oliver Springs, Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Tennessee (gratitude to the photographer, John Huotari). Over a 1 000 miners remembered, 13 of whom died at work. Memorial cost ~$7 000. Six years in the planning & funding. Dedicated Sa17May2014. The longest continuously worked TN coalmine, 1904-1960. Union Valley . . . Baptist church . . . the names of the ex-miners present read out by the former manager (so not a union man yes, Union Valley refers to the Southern rebellion) . . . on 8Nov2016, TN voted Trump 61%, over 1.5m, winning 92 of the 95 counties (losing Memphis, Nashville, & Brownsville); Anderson County, where the mine was, 65%. Further into the hills, Trump was in the low 80s. As context, an excellent study of rule over workers & their families was made in a contiguous county, 40 miles to the north-east, in the Clear Fork valley: John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley, Clarendon Press (Oxford), 1980 (link below for either viewing the PDF online or downloading it).

https://oakridgetoday.com/2014/05/18/photos-windrock-coal-miners-memorial/ & https://mega.nz/file/30oCBQqJ#troqF4UR3OpbWewlnaBP9QHixCfRXswfWdfMwdrHPYc

John Gaventa, a Tennessean, first degree at Vanderbilt in Nashville, doctorate at Oxford, lecturer at UT Knoxville, then headed the Highlander Research and Education Center (formerly the Highlander Folk School), 1993-6, before returning to the UK, to the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton. The HREC’s main office, a wooden building, was burnt to the ground, F29Mar2019, in a suspected arson attack by fascists of the ilk of Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party, which had been active in nearby Knoxville: https://knoxnews.com/story/news/local/tennessee/2019/04/03/christchurch-shooter-used-racist-symbol-found-at-highland-center-fire-iron-guard/3347678002/ (by Travis Dorman). On a philanthropic note, linked here is a video about the 1974-6 joint Appalachian-south Wales coalfields project he did with pioneering sociologist Helen Lewis & cinematographer Richard Greatrex: https://southernspaces.org/2015/keep-your-eye-upon-scale/.

Shell-shocked invader, Hue, 1968 (photographer: the incomparable Don McCullin);

US invaders kidnap blindfolded & bound Vietnamese girl and mother & child (photographer: unknown witness at a crime scene);

just another day’s work for the A-109 Special Forces killers, Thuong Duc, Jan1967 (US state archive; photographer: unknown witness at a crime scene);

just another day’s work (camera operators: unknown witnesses at multiple crime scenes).



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