The coronavirus is almost the only topic journalists and commentators are writing about at the moment. Crikey has brought together some of the best commentary from around the world:

The ‘sceptical laughter’ evoked by popular culture is a way of poking fun at authority, undermining the power of politicians or big corporates. 

Laughter in the time of a pandemic: why South Africans are joking about coronavirus. The Conversation Africa, March 15. 

When a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry jumps on the tinfoil-hat bandwagon to accuse the US military of unleashing a deadly disease that has infected well over 140,000 people in more than 120 countries, it begs closer scrutiny to understand what exactly is going on.

Why China is amplifying a conspiracy theory to blame America for coronavirus crisis. South China Morning Post, March 14. 

The ruling class should not treat citizens like ignorant creatures.

Halfway measures: The European Union will not tackle the coronavirus crisis if it adopts insufficient initiatives. El País, March 12. 

I know it’s masochistic, but I feel a sense of ‘I told you so’ satisfaction, painful as it is, to read about reports of harassment, discrimination, public humiliation and even violence, against Chinese or Asian-looking people around the world ever since the coronavirus outbreak in China.

No Chinese should be surprised by coronavirus-inspired racism. South China Morning Post, February 20.  

What does, and does not, constitute an overreaction is a question of how severe a threat is to public health, the expected benefits of any proposed counter-measures weighed against the likely costs and displacement risks of such measures.

Coronavirus: the pressures governments face in balancing safety and liberty. The Conversation UK, March 12.

It’s not often you look at an empty shelf in a supermarket and believe you’re looking into the vortex of non-existence.

The apocalypse has begun … in aisle 8 at the supermarket. The Sydney Morning Herald, March 13. 

The political legitimacy of the Chinese system has been actively advocated and promoted by serious political researchers as a viable alternative model to liberal democracy … It is rather surprising that the Chinese authoritarian leadership had not had to rely more on violence and coercion to achieve and maintain legitimacy.

Is COVID-19 China’s ‘Chernobyl Moment’? The Diplomat, March 4.

So while the CDC and laboratories around the world race to find cures for the novel coronavirus, researchers are using AI to try to predict where the disease will go next and how much of an impact it might have.

Predicting the coronavirus outbreak: How AI connects the dots to warn about disease threats. The Conversation US, March 3.

Peter Fray

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