Now affecting every corner of the globe except Antarctica, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic threatens to destabilize governments and sow economic chaos for months, even years to come. Across the planet, cities, provinces, even entire countries are on lockdown, with businesses shuttered and citizens told to “shelter in place”, ultimately restricted to house arrest except for essential errands for food, medicine, gas and assistance to dependent family members. A death toll count is pointless; even at the speed of internet publication, such figures are immediately outdated, but as of March 18th, global casualties approach 10,000. Millions are likely to follow.
Asteroid Astrology: International
The coronavirus continues to spread globally, with the first deaths in the United States, Australia and Thailand, all announced within a 12 hour period on Leap Day. Genuine awareness of the economic threat it poses seemed to sink in during the prior week, manifesting as a panicked sell-off on Wall Street to the tune of 3600 points, some 11% of its volume, the worst week since the financial crisis of 2008. February 27th saw the largest single-day drop in Dow history, shedding 1191 points. Of course, Fearless Leader says it’s just a hyped-up conspiracy by the Fake News Media to discredit him, the Dow drop occurred because investors were depressed by the paucity of viable candidates in the Dem primary (but shouldn’t that make these alleged Trump-lovers happy?), and coronavirus will just “disappear one day … like a miracle.”
On January 7, 2020, the Chinese government announced that it had isolated the cause of a new strain of flu-like contagion, which it named the novel (“new”) coronavirus. Part of a large class of viruses which include the common cold, MERS and SARS, the new disease had already claimed at least one life, in late December 2019, before it was identified. To date at least 259 people have succumbed to the virus, which has now spread to more than a dozen countries, with upwards of 12,000 known to be infected. Over 60 million people have been put on lock-down in China, and international researchers are racing to develop a vaccine before the contagion becomes a worldwide pandemic. The US government announced that as of February 2nd, all foreign nationals who had visited China in the past 14 days would be barred from entering the country, and all Americans returning from China would be placed in quarantine.
If you recall, it was an assassination that began World War I. Is history about to repeat itself, in the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killed by a US drone as his convoy exited Baghdad International Airport on 3 January 2020? Soleimani was head of Iran’s elite Quds force, a division of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, primarily involved with extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. Soleimani had coordinated with proxy and client terrorist groups in anti-US actions outside Iran, across the Mid-East, had pioneered the IED attacks, and was responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of countless Americans and local civilians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was indicted on charges of corruption on November 21st, just as asteroid Swindle returned to its natal degree of 26 Virgo. The embattled Netanyahu has been fighting for his political life for months, with two inconclusive general elections in April and September 2019 showing no clear victor, and neither Bibi nor his chief rival, Benny Gantz, able to form a collation government, leaving Israel essentially leaderless. Head of the center-right Likud Party, Netanyahu has been PM since 2009, following an earlier stint in the late ‘90s, but has been under investigation for corruption for almost three years, before Israel’s Attorney General filed charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu, a staunch Trump ally, has characterized the indictment as a “witch hunt” and attempted coup (gee, I wonder where he got that idea from?).
“To buy or not to buy, that is the question.” US President Donald Trump faced this apparent dilemma this week, as he floated a desire to purchase the island of Greenland from the Danes. The bizarre notion may have been prompted by the ghost of Hamlet’s father, rattling around the West Wing while on vacation from Elsinore, but initially it yielded mocking commentary from around the globe. Until Greenlanders rebuffed Trump, and the Danish Prime Minister called the idea “absurd.” Then The Donald went into full assault mode, calling the PM “nasty” and cancelling a state visit to Denmark, a NATO ally, planned for early September.