- Major news outlets like CNN and The New York Post reported Thursday that 38% of American beer drinkers would not buy Corona beer right now because of the coronavirus outbreak.
- However, many have criticized the survey that the media outlets cited as misleading.
- While some of the survey questions that the 737 beer drinkers answered explicitly mentioned the coronavirus, that question about Corona beer did not.
- The question implies an association with the coronavirus, but it could also include responses from people who just don’t drink Corona anyway.
Are 38% Percent of Americans Really Scared of Corona Beer?
Media outlets like CNN and The New York Post cited a survey on Thursday that claimed 38% of Americans won’t drink Corona beer because of the coronavirus. Now, others are calling that poll phony.
The poll gained national attention and even trended on Twitter after the company running it, 5W Public Relations, asked 737 beer drinkers a variety of questions. Some of those questions explicitly mentioned the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 89,000 people globally as of Monday morning. The question involving Corona beer, however, notably lacked any mention of the coronavirus.
“38% of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now,” the company said in its press release.
“5W Public Relations said that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona ‘under any circumstances’ because of the outbreak,” CNN then reported.
“A surprising 38 percent of beer drinkers insisted that they would not, under any circumstances, buy Corona as the deadly virus spreads across the globe,” The New York Post also reported.
According to The Atlantic, however, while the question implies an association with the coronavirus, it could also simply include responses from people who just don’t drink Corona anyway.
This is supported by the additional result that only 4% of regular Corona drinkers surveyed in the poll said they would stop drinking the brand.
“It is one thing for unscrupulous PR agencies to get their name out by trying to mislead the public in a shameless manner. It is quite another for some of the country’s most prestigious and well-known media outlets to let themselves be played,” Yascha Mounk said for The Atlantic.
Mounk also said he reached out to 5W Public Relations and was able to obtain the list of questions, but the company has not provided any further results or its methodology with him or other reporters.
“Maybe, just maybe, that’s because the results show that most Americans get the difference between a disease and a beer,” Mounk said.
YouTuber and educational vlogger Hank Green has also questioned the legitimacy of such results, also noting that the company’s currently secret methodology for obtaining its results.
“OK, now that we’ve had our fun imagining that 38% of Americans are fucking idiots…,” he said, “let’s realize that we’re all idiots for believing that CNN would check the source on this before tweeting out clickbait that makes us think less of our neighbors.”
In a statement, Constellation Brands (which owns Corona) CEO Bill Newlands also condemned the poll and association between the similarly-named beer and virus.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation,” Newlands said. “These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country. We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well.”
The U.S. Reports Its First Two Deaths
Aside from clickbait polls, the coronavirus has continued to spread outside of China. On Monday, the United States reported four additional deaths after reporting its first two over the weekend.
All six people who died lived in Washington state. Reportedly, both people who died over the weekend were elderly adults with underlying health problems.
Some of the victims were also residents at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. That nursing home is now the subject of its own outbreak with six confirmed cases coming from the facility. Three of those cases are reportedly elderly residents in critical condition.
Other residents and staff from the facility have also reported feeling sick. With that outbreak, a quarter of Kirkland’s firefighters are in quarantine because they had visited the nursing home.
In all, as of Monday, those infections bring the U.S. to 88 cases, with states like New York, Florida, and Rhode Island all saw their first confirmed cases over the weekend.
Coronavirus Picks Up Speed Internationally
Globally, many countries are facing similar rises in infections.
One of the most drastic spikes occurred in Italy over the weekend. On Saturday, the country had confirmed 1,128 cases. By Sunday, that number jumped to 1,694, a 50% increase in the span of a day.
As of Monday, South Korea is reporting 4,300 cases, which is easily the largest outbreak outside of China. About 60% of those cases stem from the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious group that is frequently denounced as a cult.
China, however, reported its lowest reported infection numbers since January, with only 202 new cases and 42 deaths. Over the course of the past week, China has continually seen decreases in the number of people infected and dying each day.
The numbers were so positive to Chinese officials that they even closed the first of its 16 rapidly-built makeshift hospitals in Wuhan, where the human version of the virus originated.
See what others are saying: (The Atlantic) (USA Today) (The New York Times)
Police Arrest Hong Kong Man for Booing Chinese National Anthem
The man’s boos were launched during the first time the Chinese national anthem had ever been played for a Hong Kong athlete at the Olympics.
Instulting the Anthem
Hong Kong authorities announced Friday that a man was arrested for allegedly booing and “insulting” the Chinese national anthem while watching the Olympics on Monday.
The unnamed 40-year-old, who identified himself as a journalist, was allegedly watching the Olympics fencing medal ceremony for Hong Konger Edgar Cheung at a local mall. When the anthem began playing, he allegedly began booing and chanted “We are Hong Kong!” while waving a British Hong Kong Colonial flag.
The man’s actions were particularly noteworthy because it was the first time the Chinese national anthem had been played for a Hong Kong athlete in the Olympics. Hong Kongers compete at the Games under a separate committee called Hong Kong, China. The last time a Hong Konger won gold was in 1996 for windsurfing, at which time the British anthem of “God Save the Queen” was played.
Concerns for Freedom of Speech
The man is suspected of breaking the relatively new National Anthem Ordinance, which was passed in June 2020, and has a penalty of up to three years in prison and fines of $6,000 for anyone who publicly and intentionally insults the anthem. The law mirrors one in mainland China, but it has faced considerable scrutiny from increasingly persecuted pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong.
They argue that it tramples the right to free speech, which is supposed to be enshrined in the city’s Basic Law. Hong Kong police, however, say that’s not the case and claim that his actions breach common restraints on freedom of speech. Senior Superintendent Eileen Chung said that his actions were “to stir up the hostility of those on the scene and to politicize the sport.”
Police issued a warning that it would investigate reports of others joining his chants or violating the separate National Security law passed last year.
This incident isn’t the only case of alleged politicization of the Games. Badminton player Angus Ng was accused by a pro-Beijing lawmaker of making a statement by sporting a black jersey with the territory’s emblem. The imagery was very similar to the black-and-white Hong Kong flag used by anti-government protesters.
Ng countered that he wore his own clothes to the event because he didn’t have sponsorships to provide jerseys and he wasn’t authorized to print the emblem on a jersey himself.
See what others are saying: (Inside) (Al Jazeera) (CNN)
Canadian Catholic Priest Says Residential Schools Survivors Lied About Abuse
The Roman Catholic Church is facing considerable backlash across Canada for its treatment of indigenous peoples in the residential school system, along with its subsequent efforts to downplay the problem.
Priest Sparks Outrage
Father Rheal Forest was put on forced leave Wednesday following remarks he made over a weeks-long period starting July 10 in which he doubted victims of the country’s infamous residential school system.
Residential schools were a system of schools largely for indigenous children that were mostly run by the Catholic Church with federal government funding. The schools were notoriously cruel and long faced allegations that children had been abused or went missing under their care.
To date, over 1,300 unmarked graves have been found at four former residential schools across Canada, a fraction of the over 130 that used to exist.
Forest, of the St. Boniface archdiocese in Winnipeg, was standing in for a couple of weeks while the main priest at his church was away. During that time, Forest told parishioners that victims of the residential schools, particularly those sexually abused, had lied.
“If [the victims] wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes — lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000,” he said.
“It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie.”
In that same sermon, he also added that during his time with Inuit groups in the north of the country, most had allegedly said they appreciated the residential school system. Instead, he said they blamed any abuses on lay people working at the facilities rather than priests or nuns.
Forest’s comments drew a ton of backlash, prompting the archdiocese to place Forest on leave. A spokesperson for the archdiocese said that the institution “completely disavow” Forest’s comments, adding, “We very much regret the pain they may have caused to many people, not least of course Indigenous people and, more specifically, survivors of the Residential School system.”
Overall, the archdiocese has attempted to apologize to indigenous communities for its part in the residential school system, with Archbishop Albert Legatt saying in a video that the way forward was by “acknowledging, apologizing, and acting” on terms set by indigenous groups.
Church Allegedly Kept Money From Victims
Forest’s views and subsequent dismissal aren’t the only public relations scandal the Roman Catholic Church faces in Canada.
According to documents obtained by CBC News, the Church spent over a decade avoiding paying out money to survivors per a 2005 agreement. At the time, it, alongside the protestant churches that also ran some residential schools, agreed to pay an amount to victims of the schools in the tens of millions.
Instead, according to an internal summary of 2015 court documents, the Catholic Church spent much of that money on lawyers, administration, a private fundraising company, and unapproved loans. It seems that some of this was technically legal, such as a promise to give tens of millions back via “in-kind” services; however, there was no audit completed to confirm that these services actually happened or to prove the alleged value of the services. This led to doubts about whether or not they were done effectively.
The Catholic Church was unique among the signatory churches in the 2005 agreement with its efforts to avoid paying victims. All of the other denominations paid out their sums many years before without issues.
While priests such as Father Forest have supported the Church, there has been internal backlash. Father André Poilièvre, a Saskatoon priest and Order of Canada recipient, said the Church’s actions are “scandalous” and “really shameful,” adding, “It was a loophole. It might be legal, but it’s not ethical.”
With these latest revelations, widespread anger at the Church has triggered allegations that indigenous groups are behind a spree of church burnings across the country.
The entire situation is likely going to continue to smolder as a government commission set up to investigate the schools estimates there will be thousands of more unmarked graves found across Canada.
See what others are saying: (CBC News) (The Guardian) (CTV News)
Tokyo Sets Back-to-Back Records for Number of Daily COVID-19 Cases
Some positive cases were detected among people attending the Olympic Games, including a handful of athletes.
Cases Going Up
The Tokyo Olympic Games found itself in more controversy on Wednesday after Tokyo experienced a record number of daily COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row.
On Tuesday, the city recorded 2,848 new cases of the virus, passing the 2,500 daily new case threshold for the first time since the pandemic began. Then on Wednesday, it shattered the record again with 3,177 new COVID-19 cases.
At least 155 of those new cases were detected among people attending the Games, including a handful of athletes, which contrasts Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s promise that the Olympics wouldn’t be hit with the virus. The spike in new cases has largely been attributed to the delta-variant, something that many countries are dealing with around the world.
Nishimura Yasutoshi, a Japanese economic minister, told a parliamentary panel this week that COVID-19 cases are expected to continue rising for at least a few days. He also explained that many people may have delayed getting tested last week due to holidays, therefore inflating total daily new case numbers.
Governors in prefectures around Tokyo have moved to ask the government for states-of-emergency, which Tokyo is already under.
Doubts About Government Response
The prime minister said in a press conference on Tuesday that “the government has secured a new drug that reduces the risk of serious illness by 70 percent,” adding, “we have confirmed that this drug will be used thoroughly from now on.”
However, he never actually mentioned what drug he was referencing.
“In any case, under these circumstances, I would like to ask the people to avoid going out unnecessarily and to watch the Olympics and Paralympics on TV,” Suga continued.
He also stressed that canceling the Olympics amid the outbreak was completely out of the question, although there have been continued calls from the public and opposition lawmakers for just that.
Beyond refusing to cancel the Games, Suga is facing backlash for refusing to enact strict state-of-emergency protocols. Currently, the measures in Tokyo are almost all voluntary and consist of asking people to stay home, along with requesting restaurants that serve alcohol to completely close and telling all others to shut down by 8 p.m.